Southern Illinois Republican candidates disappointed in auditor general scandal
In line with other GOP legislative candidates seeking district slots around the state, two Republicans from southern Illinois have called allegations against current Auditor General Frank Mautino a disheartening state of affairs.
“I guess we need someone to audit the auditor general,” State Senate District 59 candidate Dale Fowler told Southwest Illinois News.
The auditor general scandal began after the General Assembly appointed State Rep. Mautino (D-Spring Valley), also the former deputy House majority leader, to be auditor general upon the retirement of his predecessor last fall. Though no longer running for office, Mautino reportedly continued to raise and inappropriately spend campaign cash, according to two watchdog groups, the Edgar County Watchdogs and OpenTheBooks.com.
For instance, more than $213,000 in campaign gas and vehicle repairs was paid by Mautino’s political committee beginning in 2005 to Happy’s Super Service Station in the then-representative’s hometown of Spring Valley, according to the Edgar County Watchdogs.
The “gas” and “gas and vehicle repairs” averaged $20,000 per year over the course of almost 11 years, according to the accountability group.
“It seems that people are living out of their campaign funds somewhat and I’m not OK with that," Jason Kasiar, candidate for State House District 118, said. "I think a campaign fund is exactly that, a campaign fund."
Kasiar, who owns and operates an independent pharmacy, is running against incumbent Democrat Brandon Phelps.
“I don’t understand spending -- for instance, my opponent has $678,000 in his campaign fund," Kasiar told Southwest Illinois News. "Spending that kind of money for a job that pays $67,000 a year is absolutely mind blowing,”
There needs to be some type of limit set on the amount of money that can be spent on an election, he added.
“In my personal opinion, that is a lot of money wasted that can go into a part of the solution for the state,” Kasiar said.
Phelps did not respond to requests for comment.
Though equally disappointed by decades of mismanagement at the hands of Illinois’ political insiders, Fowler thinks the process around the auditor general scandal should be allowed to run its course.
“I’m sure we’ll soon find out the full details," he said. "It is extremely disappointing, especially in this environment and difficult times, the bickering and excuses. It is time for this to end and put people before politics. We deserve better."
Fowler, a local businessman and mayor of Harrisburg since 2014, is running against incumbent Democrat Gary Forby.
To see a list of some of Mautino's expenditures, go to: http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Expenditure-List-Printable-TOTAL.pdf.