Caulkins calls partisan politics primary issue in Springfield, points out Mautino vote
Republican state House candidate Dan Caulkins believes the ongoing scandal involving Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino exemplifies the need for change in Springfield.
“I think he represents everything that’s wrong with state government,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “What concerns and frustrates me just as much is you have people entrusted with policing bad behavior that instead of doing their jobs choose to see everything through a partisan lens. The fact is this guy hasn’t followed any of the rules when he’s in a position of authority and is supposed to be an example for everyone else.”
Mautino remains under federal investigation for possible campaign finance violations in a widening probe where he cited his Fifth Amendment privilege and refused to directly speak before the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Ultimately, the board deadlocked 4-4 down partisan lines on whether his now-defunct campaign committee should be fined.
Mautino’s method of operations hasn’t just started to raise eyebrows.
Over a 16-year period beginning in 1999, his campaign spent around $225,000 at the same local gas station for gas and repairs to vehicles owned by him or someone close to him. Critics argue that’s in violation of an election code rule that clearly stipulates campaign committees are only allowed to reimburse vehicle owners on a per-mile basis for the use of their vehicle for campaign purposes, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
In another instance, Mautino’s committee is accused of writing checks in excess of $150,000 in the name of a bank, then cashing them from the committee’s checking account. While staffers contend the money was used for campaign expenditures, receipts were rarely kept for any of the transactions.
In January 2017, state Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) filed a House Joint Resolution calling for Mautino’s removal as auditor general, in a move that Caulkins said was long overdue.
“That his removal is a partisan issue is indicative of what’s wrong with Springfield,” said Caulkins, who is running in November’s general election against Democrat Jennifer McMillian in the 101st House District. “Right now, connected people able to escape any punishment for almost anything that they do. There’s this mentality that if he is my guy I will defend him to the end.”
Caulkins argues that too is part of the behavior the state can no longer afford if it is to ever truly restore itself.
“We’re at a tipping point,” he said. “We need people in Springfield who are there for the right reason and that’s to serve as a public servant to the needs of the people.”