GOP House candidate McGuire not surprised at Madigan's defense of Mautino
Brandi McGuire, Republican candidate for House District 72, is not surprised that House Speaker Michael Madigan has chosen to defend Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, who faces a federal investigation by the U.S. attorney's office and state board of elections over the alleged misuse of $200,000 in campaign funds for car repairs and bank payments when he was a lawmaker. .
Illinois Auditor General Mautino’s term has been a rocky one plagued by allegations of corruption and calls for resignation by lawmakers and voters. Despite the FBI joining the investigation, Mautino has so far ignored requests by investigators about his spending.
However, House Speaker Michael Madigan is standing by Mautino, defending him on public radio WCBU and stating that he will be “vindicated” once the investigation is over.
"I, and many folks on both sides of the aisle, are not surprised that Speaker Madigan is supporting Auditor General Frank Mautino in his highly questionable campaign spending,” McGuire said.
Madigan stated that, once the investigation allegedly vindicates Mautino, he will continue to serve as the state’s auditor general, much to the chagrin of over 20 Republican House members who have filed a joint House Joint Resolution (HJR 158) calling for his resignation. HJR 158 will again be on the General Assembly floor once members return to Springfield in November for the annual veto session.
There are also rumors of state Senators asking for Mautino’s removal. McGuire believes that leaders are protecting their own.
“In the private sector, we hold on to the premise 'do not hire anyone you cannot fire,'” she said. “Partisanship in Illinois has made many established politicians blind to the wrongs committed by their own members. This seems to be the case in the Mautino scandal.”
Mautino was a staunch supporter and right-hand man for Madigan during the 24 years he served as a state representative. He was appointed as auditor general by the General Assembly in October 2015 and took office in January 2016. He has been under fire ever since over the alleged spending discrepancies.
Additionally, Mautino sought a stay on the board of elections investigation while the federal probe continued, but board members voted 5-3 to continue their own inquiries.
In a separate motion, the board also decided to give Mautino two weeks to file amended reports. If no reports are filed, the case will go to a public hearing
A status hearing for the case is now set for Monday in Chicago. At that hearing, attorneys are expected to set a date for an open hearing on Mautino's spending issues.
Mautino’s attorney asserted that they might invoke his Fifth Amendment rights to prevent any chance of self-incrimination.
McGuire -- like many voters and leaders -- is confounded as to why Mautino refuses to work with investigators.
“Why has the auditor general not defended himself with facts?” she said. “Why is the auditor general not complying with inquiries by the state board of elections and the General Assembly?”
While the answers for those questions will have to wait and many are disappointed that the auditor general failed to be transparent -- as his position requires -- McGuire has decided that she still has hope that the right thing will happen.
“I believe, in Illinois, there is still hope that the wheels of justice will prevail and Auditor General Mautino will be held accountable," she said.