Corruption in Illinois is legion.

In recent years former Democrat congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to prison for misusing campaign funds to benefit himself. Ex-congressman Aaron Schock, a Republican, is almost certainly going to be heading to prison as well over his using his campaign and office funds to decorate his DC office in the style of the British TV series Downton Abbey. Now it looks like Illinois’ Auditor General Frank Mautino, who has been on the job less than 6 months, will be joining them as it has been confirmed that federal prosecutors have impaneled a grand jury to look into a myriad of campaign spending problems from his time as a state Representative.

The Springfield based Illinois Times reported Thursday that sources had told them that federal prosecutors have started a grand jury investigation into Mautino’s campaign spending and that the grand jury has issued subpoenas to some of Mautino’s former campaign workers.

Mautino’s spokesperson Thursday afternoon told reporters that Mautino is indeed under investigation and that he is cooperating with the US attorney’s office.  The spokesperson added that Mautino will not answer any questions about his campaign spending problems because of the federal inquiry.

That continues Mautino’s nearly 6 month-long silence on the many problems facing him since basically his first day on the job as the states top fiscal watchdog. Recently 20 Republican lawmakers sent Mautino their third letter since February insisting that he start producing answers to the scandal that has dogged him since the Illinois Times first reported in January that he had gotten thousands of dollars in campaign donations after it was obvious to everyone that he was going to be selected by Speaker Michael Madigan to take over for the retiring William Holland.

Following that first Illinois Times story the Edgar County Watchdogs combed over 10 years worth of campaign spending reports from Mautino’s 24 years in the state legislature, where would rise to Deputy Majority Leader in 2009, and found that Frank had spent nearly $250,000 for gas and repairs at Happy’s service station in Mautino’s hometown of Spring Valley.

Later the Edgar County Watchdogs found another $250,000 in questionable expenditures made to Spring Valley City Bank for such things as campaign workers, poll watchers, and travel to Chicago. Records also showed that Mautino made loan payments far in excess of his loan amount.

After that the Ottawa Times’ David Giuliani found Mautino had spent nearly $78,000 for meals at 4 Spring Valley restaurants including spending $34,000 at the pizzeria owned by his wife’s family. Giuliani has also found that Mautino paid more for a dumpster than the waste management company even charges.

Further examination of Mautino’s campaign records by USofArn.com found Frank used $8,000 since 1999 to purchase American and Illinois flags at a shop in Springfield averaging four and a half visits a year.  Records also showed Mautino paid his several of his campaign workers tens of thousands of dollars to do repairs to his Spring Valley office, which he rented for 8 years rent free and then paid $100 a month for.  Frank’s sweetheart lease also somehow included language that had Frank use thousands of dollars from his campaign to repave the parking lot, replace a floor, and replace the furnace twice.

Open The Book’s founder Adam Andrzejewski has taken all of that and has pushed for months for Mautino to come clean and was the first person to call on Mautino to resign as Auditor General.

Lawmakers, and the media have been trying to get Mautino to give an explanation, an excuse, a denial, something, anything to put at least some trust back in him and the office of Auditor General, and that hasn’t been happening.

In reaction to Thursday’s revelations state Rep. Jeanne Ives(R-Wheaton) said that, “A cloud of mistrust surrounds Mr. Mautino and his forthrightness and transparency in the handling of campaign money. Taxpayers deserve a qualified person as auditor general who is beyond reproach.”

In the past Ives has called on Mautino to resign and last week pointed out that should Mautino finish out 2016 as Auditor General he will get a lifetime boost in his pension as the salary for Auditor General($150,000 approx) is much higher than what he was making as a Representative($84,000 approx).

The federal probe isn’t the end of Frank Mautino’s troubles, earlier this week a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed against him by the Edgar County Watchdogs after Mautino failed to produce all emails and other communications he had during the first weeks of the scandal answering the questions that were pouring in to him.  Last week the states Board of Elections found that a complaint against Mautino citing the spending at Happy’s and Spring Valley City Bank was found to be justified and Mautino was given until July 1st to amend his campaign reports and provide a satisfactory level of explanation for the spending irregularities, failure to do so could result in Mautino being fined by the BoE.

David Giuliani has tweeted late Thursday that Speaker Michael Madigan, who made Mautino Auditor General, and to whom Mautino was a top Lieutenant, said that he was unaware of the federal probe into Mautino’s campaign spending and that Republicans who have been demanding answers and accountability are “playing politics”.

If Madigan wants to call the investigation into Frank’s obvious campaign spending problem partisan politic playing then he’s giving further evidence that in Illinois corruption is legion.

crossposted from USofArn.com