Madigan: Scrutinized State Watchdog Will Be "Vindicated"

Aug 15, 2016

Auditor General Frank Mautino
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

The head of the Democratic Party of Illinois is sticking up for the beleaguered Auditor General.

As the state's fiscal watchdog, Frank Mautino holds a job that's supposed to be above politics.

But questions surrounding campaign expenses from his time as a lawmaker have turned partisan, with Republicans calling for Mautino to resign.

"It's understandable that the Republicans, as they will do, are attempting to make different political issues. I understand that. They ought to look at their own house though. They seem to have some problems inside their own house and they ought to work on that," longtime Illinois House Speaker, Democrat Michael Madigan, said recently in an interview with public radio.

"I think it's appropriate that there would be an inquiry, which is happening. Certain issues have been raised. Frank Mautino has been responding to those issues. He will continue to respond to those issues," Madigan said. "My expectation is that at the end of the day, after there's been a full inquiry, and a full level of knowledge as to what happened, that Frank will be vindicated, and he'll continue to serve as the auditor general."

The U.S. Attorney and the state board of elections are each investigating significant sums that went from Maution's campaign fund to a Spring Valley bank and auto shop. Mautino has acknowledged the federal investigation -- the potential legal pitfalls of which often lead to anyone involved refusing to speak publicly about the related circumstances.

He missed a deadline late last month to submit an amended campaign finance report to the state elections board. The board has scheduled a public hearing for August 29.

But Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said indicated calls for Mautino's resignation are premature; he says the investigations should first play out.

Through a spokesman, Mautino offered no comment.