CHICAGO — An Illinois State Board of Elections hearing officer is expected to issue a recommendation next month regarding allegations that the state’s auditor general violated campaign finance disclosure laws while serving as a Democratic state representative.
Hours of testimony were heard Thursday on the issue of whether Frank Mautino’s now-defunct campaign committee must update spending reports to provide additional details about how money was spent.
The examination comes after a group called the Edgar County Watchdogs raised questions about why the fund reported spending more than $247,000 on fuel and car repairs over 16 years. It has expanded to include a look at $30,000 worth of expenditures to a local bank.
The federal government also has begun an investigation.
Mautino received overwhelming bipartisan support when lawmakers appointed him to a 10-year term as Illinois’ chief financial watchdog in 2015.
Much of Thursday’s hearing focused on a deposition Patricia Maunu, the former treasurer for Mautino’s campaign committee, gave earlier. Jeffrey Schwab, an attorney for the Liberty Justice Center, which is affiliated with the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, cited Maunu’s testimony. In it, she said the campaign had a credit account at a Spring Valley gas station, where Mautino, campaign workers and some family members frequently stopped for gas.
Schwab said the practice violated state campaign laws and that anyone doing campaign work should be reimbursed for mileage instead.
Maunu was acting as she interpreted the law, said Sergio Acosta, lead attorney for Mautino’s committee.
The hearing officer’s recommendation could be considered at a board meeting May 15.