In response to the failure of Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to answer questions amidst the ongoing federal and state investigations into his campaign spending irregularities, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) joined some of his House Republican colleagues on Wednesday to announce the filing of House Joint Resolution 158 aimed at removing Mautino from office. The measure currently has more than 20 House sponsors.

At issue is more than $200,000 Mautino spent over 10 years on gas and vehicle repairs at a Spring Valley service station owned by a city alderman, as well as $259,000 in payments made to a local bank since 1999.

“The Auditor General is the chief agent charged with ensuring that agencies and elected officials operate within the confines of the law,” said Morrison. “He, above all else, should be a pillar of ethical behavior, yet questions involving his own campaign spending have cast a very dark cloud over his integrity. The people of Illinois deserve the highest standard of behavior from this important official, and unfortunately Attorney General Mautino’s tenure has been plagued by scandal.”

In a letter sent last month, over 20 other House and Senate Republican lawmakers urged Mautino to take an unpaid leave of absence until federal and state investigations into irregular campaign spending while he was a state representative conclude, noting that the Auditor General has yet to provide documentation clarifying his campaign expenditures and reporting practices through his now inactive political committee. Mautino has not responded to the letter or to repeated calls to answer official legislative inquiries.

“I had hoped that Frank Mautino would have done the right thing and stepped aside at the urging of more than 20 members of the House and Senate last month, but if he is unwilling to step down while he defends himself against potential criminal charges, the General Assembly should intervene and force his resignation,” said Morrison.

Morrison was one of 10 lawmakers who voted last year against appointing Mautino to the position of Auditor General. He said he felt Mautino was too closely tied to House Speaker Mike Madigan, and that there were better-qualified candidates outside of Illinois government that would be better-suited for the job.

In this edition of the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison discusses the rationale for his "no" vote on the stopgap measure that was approved on the final day of session in Fiscal Year 2016. Click here to watch the video.
This week the four Republican lawmakers who voted against the 12-month budget for K-12 Education and the six month bridge for other essential services sat down with Paris ??? from Chicago Tonight to explain the rationale behind their no votes. You may watch the interview here.
Yesterday the General Assembly sent Governor Bruce Rauner a series of bills that puts a temporary halt to the budget impasse in Springfield. The Governor has already signed into law the bills that provide record-high spending levels for K-12 Education and six-month bridge funding for all other budget areas. I am one of four legislators who voted against the bill and would like to explain my rationale.

While yesterday’s bills ensured schools would open on time and that important services and programs would continue to be operational, the votes also guaranteed a large tax increase next year. The levels of spending that were approved are simply not sustainable over 12 months, and come January the colleges and universities, prisons, social service agencies and other important entities that rely on state funding will be once again unable to provide services due to a lack of funding.

What was approved yesterday, if extended over 12 months, was not even close to being balanced. In December, with the November election in the rearview mirror, lawmakers will be more inclined to make the very unpopular decision to raise taxes to backfill the gaping budget hole that will materialize in January. I simply could not support measures that I know lays the groundwork for tax hikes next year.

I will continue to advocate for responsible and balanced spending, coupled with reforms that eliminate waste in our systems and are essential to grow our Illinois economy. We must stop increasing revenues on the backs of overtaxed Illinoisans. We need to grow jobs and improve our economy so that new job growth leads us to increased revenue. Yesterday’s votes, in my opinion, just led us all further down the path of fiscal irresponsibility. We must continue to press for and achieve real reforms on the drivers of Illinois' out-of-control budgets: state pensions (including pension reform for our local governments) and Medicaid spending.

As always, please do not ever hesitate to call me or write to me about issues that are important to you. You may reach my Palatine District office at (847) 202-6584 or email me by going to www.repmorrison54.com and clicking on the “Contact” button.
As Fiscal Year 2016 was ending at the end of June, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) returned more than $16,000 to the State of Illinois from his District Office Allotment.

Each year, every legislator is provided with approximately $69,500 for use in running a local legislative office. Salaries for employees, rent, utilities, computer equipment, office supplies and travel for official business is purchased with these funds.

“Illinois’ budget crisis extends to all budget areas, and I want to lead by example,” said Morrison. “We run a frugal office in Palatine, and each year I try to return at least 10% of my district office budget allotment back to the State.”

Morrison said he minimizes paper usage and relies heavily on electronic communication with his constituents. “To promote local community outreach events or to discuss legislative issues, we again rely on our computers, on press releases, on community electronic bulletin boards and social media for our messaging,” Morrison said. For committee meetings in Chicago, he uses public transit to save on driving and parking costs. “Every penny adds up, and if all 177 House and Senate offices could reduce their local spending by at least 10%, we would be setting a great example for how state spending could be reduced.”

This recent return of funds marks the 6th consecutive year that Morrison has returned money at the end of the fiscal year.