Illinois (ECWd) -
We broke the first story on the Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino as it related to questionable campaign spending at a single gas station and payments to Spring Valley Bank in this story back in January of 2016.
A year after that story, the Chicago Tribune ran this story shining more light on the fact the top watchdog in the state is refusing to turn over records. You can review a laundry list of articles we wrote on Mautino at this link.
Today we confirmed that Mautino's State Board of Elections complaint hearings are moving forward and the next hearing is April 20th, 2017 in Chicago. We have also confirmed that Mautino has been subject to depositions in relation to the complaint filed by David Cook. We wrote about Cook's first filing in this article, which led to him filing a new complaint that is the foundation for the current SBE investigation.
To date, Mautino's attorneys have implied that they wanted the SBE process to wait until the federal investigation is concluded as anything he says in the SBE process could potentially implicate him criminally. It was reported by "The Times", that he had pled the 5th, however, it appears what actually had happened was not an actual pleading of his 5th amendment rights, but instead it was used as a potential reason to stall the hearings.
Recent depositions, however, may prove to be problematic for his next hearing. We have confirmed the hearing officer has issued a protective order so no information is being provided to the public. That being said, rumblings on the street tell us you don't want to miss the April 20th, 2017 hearing in Chicago, which is open to the public and is not subject to a protective order.
We suspect Mautino would have pled the 5th in such a deposition. We also suspect, if others were deposed as well, they too would either take the same path to protect themselves or possibly expose what they know as part of a bigger cooperation with authorities.
Regardless of the SBE hearing, Mautino has bigger concerns as it relates to the federal investigation of his actions related to his campaign spending. For now, all we can do is wait and see if the US Attorney's office moves forward with anything in this case.