The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments this week in the campaign finance violation accusation against Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino. A Streator man accuses Mautino of not properly documenting campaign expenses over a 17-year period, part of the time that Mautino was a state representative in this area.
In his complaint, David Cooke alleges Mautino vaguely documented and inappropriately paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses at a gas station and a bank. For example, Cooke’s lawyers say the Committee for Frank J. Mautino didn’t own vehicles and shouldn’t have been allowed to claim expenses for vehicle repairs and maintenance. It says people driving for the campaign should have been reimbursed for mileage instead.
The Fourth District Appellate Court ruled in 2019 that the Illinois State Board of Elections didn’t go far enough when it fined the campaign $5,000. Mautino’s lawyers argue that the laws the campaign is accused of violating are being misapplied. They say some of the rules have exceptions, some were taken out of context, and some were misinterpreted. One area of dispute is whether the law means paying for mileage is one of many ways or the only way a campaign can cover transportation costs. Another is whether paying for mileage is adequate reimbursement when different vehicles cost different amounts per mile to drive and maintain.
It’s not certain how long the Illinois Supreme Court will take to rule. It could be weeks or months.
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March 12, 2021 at 08:03AM