On May 31 in Springfield, partisan Democrats pushed through yet another anti-business bill that would further reinforce Illinois' reputation as being a business-unfriendly state. You may listen to Representative Breen's debate with with the bill sponsor by clicking on the image above.
Appointed members of governing boards of public universities and colleges would have to complete a minimum of four hours of professional development and leadership training thanks to legislation sponsored in the Illinois House by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard).

SB 2174 passed the House on Tuesday and was filed as a direct response to financial abuses that occurred at the Glen Ellyn-based College of DuPage (COD), which is located in Breen’s 48th House District. “The level of incompetence shown by the former board majority at COD was shocking,” said Breen. “Their behavior truly called into question their ability to make sound decisions on behalf of the school and its students.”

Through SB 2174, appointed board members will have to show proof of taking the training within two years of beginning their service and within every two years of service thereafter. The Illinois Board of Higher Education will oversee the training mandate, and topics to be covered will include:
  • public university and labor law
  • contract law
  • ethics
  • sexual violence on campus
  • financial oversight and accountability
  • audits, and fiduciary responsibilities of a member of a governing board 
School web sites will be required to maintain a current list of the names of all voting members who have successfully completed the training. If a board member has not completed training, their ability to serve will be suspended until the training is complete. If within an additional 45 days the training is not done, they will be forced to resign their seat.

“Here in DuPage County we learned through an unfortunate series of events how important it is to have qualified and educated people making decisions on behalf of our institutions of higher learning the students who attend those schools,” said Breen. “It was my privilege to carry this important legislation in the House.”

The bill will now be forwarded to the Governor for his signature.
Next week, May 31st, we end our regular legislative session. Last year around this time, the General Assembly approved bills spending about $36 billion, even though our projected income for the year was roughly $32 billion. Those bills passed on almost straight party-line votes, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against. The governor said he would veto any unbalanced budget, and when the spending bills got to his desk, he followed through on his promise. In the intervening year, we’ve had on-again, off-again negotiations over the budget, with little progress. Government spending and operations have continued for the most part, due to various courts ordering the state to fund specific programs and services.

Maybe it’s an oversimplification to say that fixing the budget is a math problem, but on one level, that’s true. When you’re doing a budget, you start by determining how much money you have available to spend, and then lining up what services you want to spend it on. If you want more services than you can afford, you have three options: 1) figure out a way to get the services cheaper, 2) decide you don’t really need all those services and reduce spending on some of them, or 3) increase the amount of money available by borrowing money or raising taxes.

The one thing you can’t do is to spend $36 billion when you only have $32 billion available. It doesn’t work in your budget at home, or in a small business, or in a municipal government, and it certainly doesn’t work for the State of Illinois.

Some have claimed that Illinois law allows the governor to sign unbalanced spending bills but decide not to spend some of the money. The problem with that claim is that the General Assembly puts so many strings on the way money must be spent that the governor’s hands are tied under current law. The governor can’t use our “option 1” and figure out how to deliver services cheaper, because he’s forced to spend the dollars in a particular way. He also can’t fully use our “option 2,” because he’s forbidden from moving money away from legislators’ pet projects to the places where the money is most needed.

You may not have seen it reported, but several months ago, a bill was filed to fix this problem, called the Unbalanced Budget Response Act. That Act would give the governor the flexibility to make the difficult spending decisions necessary to balance the budget.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my past year-and-four-months in the General Assembly, it’s that no politician ever wants to cut or reduce a government program. That’s why the governor’s offer to make the reductions himself is extraordinary. He’s agreed to be the so-called “bad guy” and take the heat for whatever cuts are necessary to balance the budget. And if this Act is passed, it would only be effective until the General Assembly reaches agreement on a balanced budget: the Act would serve as a backstop for the legislature.

Each side has a way it views the current budget crisis. The number one point that Republican leadership has impressed on our members is that we’re willing to talk, anywhere, anytime, with anyone, to negotiate solutions to this crisis. Some fruits of that willingness are two emergency funding measures that were negotiated and passed by rank-and-file members, to ensure that our colleges are able to stay open and that social service charities can get some portion of the money they’re owed from the state.

But as willing as we have been to negotiate, there’s not been a lot of progress on an agreed overall budget. Call it politics, call it fear, whatever. Either way, we need a balanced budget. We’re the only state in the country without an approved balanced budget, and a measure like the Unbalanced Budget Response Act can get us there immediately, while still allowing for continued negotiations by the legislature.
This week in Springfield, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) argued against a Democrat-sponsored bill that represented an extreme overreach by the General Assembly into contracts that are negotiated between the State and its vendors.

"For a contract that we have signed for a year, and that we have fully appropriated for in this General Assembly, we can 'stick it' to a social service provider with only 30 days notice," Breen said. "They could have signed that contract and staffed up their agency for the full year and 30 days later they've got to fire everybody. That's what this bill reads..."

You may listen to Breen's full questioning of the bill sponsor by clicking on the image above.

As we approach our spring session adjournment date of May 31, legislators are giving a final push to bills they would like to pass this year. Just in the past few weeks, I’ve passed three more bills, which now head to the Governor’s desk for his consideration, including the following: 
SB 2286: Expands current human trafficking laws by requiring hotline information to be posted at hotels and motels in areas where employees will readily see it
SB 2512: Assists the courts with temporary guardianship or custody placement of youth by requiring that a list of all relatives that could be willing to care for a child be provided during placement hearings
SB 2524: Amends the Illinois Identification Card Act to remove the current $10 fee for a first state identification card for wards of the state who are between the ages of 16-21

I’ve still got a few more bills pending in the House (and three awaiting action in the Senate). Next Friday, May 27 is the deadline for passage of all pending bills, with May 31 being the final deadline for any concurrences (to reconcile differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of bills).

Newest Education Funding Reform an Attack on DuPage Schools
For the third year in a row, a bill that seeks to strip money away from suburban school districts and channel that money toward Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is making its way through the legislative process in Springfield. Senate Bill 231 was approved by a narrow margin in the Illinois Senate and has been assigned to the House Executive Committee for a hearing. If approved by the full House and signed into law, every District 48 school district would lose state funding.
While some portions of SB 231 are similar to last year’s SB 01 and SB 16 from 2014, this new bill also includes a massive bailout for CPS to the tune of $175 million in additional funding and $205 million to rescue a failing pension system for CPS teachers. Keep in mind, the new $380 million is on top of the $367 million in special CPS-specific grants that Chicago takes in.

This latest bill also offers an illusory $241 million “Adequacy Grant” that would be distributed to school districts that are highly taxed but are still funded at a level the bill sponsor deems as “inadequate.” The problem is, there is no identified revenue source for this adequacy grant money. Because the bill relies on phantom money to fund grants, the first two columns on the above chart are a more realistic impact of his bill if approved. Columns three and four chart funding changes IF the adequacy grant materializes.

SB 231 would further drive up our local property taxes, and I will fight this blatant attack on suburban taxpayers, who have heavily invested in their local schools.

More Cracks in the Walls of “Madiganistan”
Last Thursday, members of the House and Senate reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill that would send $700 million in emergency, stopgap funding to human service charities that deliver critical services to our most disadvantaged citizens. These social service charities serve the most vulnerable people in our communities, and do so better and cheaper than the state could itself. They have suffered gravely due to the budget stalemate in Springfield.

While this emergency bill is not perfect, it is fully funded, through an existing fund dedicated for human services. Just like we were able to do a few weeks ago when we sent $600 million in available funds to our institutions of higher learning, rank and file Democrats pressed their leadership to allow a bill to the floor that doesn’t spend money the state doesn’t have and can’t afford. If this trend continues, we have a solid chance of getting a balanced budget in the near future.

Students Celebrate Technology Day in Springfield
I always enjoy visiting with students from the 48th District when they travel to Springfield. While lawmakers are accustomed to seeing busloads of students touring the capitol, the Lincoln Museum, and other historic sites, last week, the tables were turned, and students provided lawmakers and other Capitol visitors with a lesson in the importance of technology, and the vital role it plays in students’ educational experiences.

300 students from more than 100 schools had projects on display on the first floor of the Capitol in honor of Technology Day. Students from schools located in IL House 
District 48 were part of the event. Groups from Sacred Heart Catholic School in Lombard and Lowell Elementary School in Wheaton did a wonderful job highlighting the importance of technology in learning through their innovative and creative displays. I enjoyed talking with these bright students and was impressed by their projects.

Madigan Allies Quick to File Lawsuit Against Citizen-Led Fair Maps Proposal
A citizen-initiated measure continued to move forward last week to change the way the State draws legislative maps to elect future members of the Illinois House and Senate. Circulators of petitions for the Independent Map Amendment turned in 65,000 pages of voter petition signatures to the Illinois State Board of Elections to get a “Fair Map” amendment on the Illinois ballot in November. If the signatures and amendment are accepted by the State Board of Elections and the courts, Illinois voters will face a ballot question on whether to amend the state Constitution. The amendment, if adopted, will create an independent commission to draw future district maps for Illinois legislators. The next mapmaking cycle will follow release of the numbers generated by the 2020 census.

Litigation against the Independent Map Amendment was filed by allies of Democratic Party Chairman and House Speaker Michael Madigan immediately after these petitions were turned in. Challenges to the amendment can question either the wording of the amendment, the signatures turned in to qualify the amendment for the November 2016 ballot, or both. Independent Map Amendment, an Illinois citizens’ organization, believes it has gathered enough signatures and that it has written a legally valid amendment that will withstand court scrutiny. Constitutional amendments, to be adopted by the voters, must get either a simple majority of the entire voting electorate or a special three-fifths majority of those voting on the question. The Independent Map Amendment would supersede the current Illinois law that allows these key maps to be drawn by politicians and well-paid political consultants.

Illinois One Step Closer to Full Compliance with Federal REAL ID Mandate
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has announced that his office is upgrading security features to the Driver’s License/ID card design and expanding the central issuance process for driver’s licenses and ID cards to all applicants. With implementation of these changes, Illinois has moved closer to achieving full REAL ID compliance, which is a federal mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

By the end of July, applicants visiting Driver Services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent DL/ID card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary secure paper driver’s license, which is valid for 45 days and will serve as their DL/ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. The temporary, secure paper driver’s license or ID card will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the permanent driver’s license or ID card. In addition, the facility employee will return the old DL/ID card back to the applicant after punching a hole in it.

After fraud checks have been conducted to ensure the applicant’s identity, a higher quality, more secure DL/ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to the applicant’s address.

For purposes of air travel, DHS states that it will accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old DL/ID to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail.

The transition to central issuance will take place in phases. First, beginning this week, Safe Driver Renewal applicants will receive by mail their new driver’s license with the upgraded security features. These motorists opted for and expect to receive their driver’s license via mail. Second, through a gradual rollout, Driver Services facilities throughout the state will implement central issuance using the newly designed card. By the end of July, all Driver Services facilities will have transitioned to central issuance.

While the driver’s license and ID card upgrades are being implemented, there will be more than one valid driver’s license/ID card until the old design format is phased out. Fees will remained unchanged.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) sat down recently with Paul Lisnek of Comcast Newsmakers to discuss his HB 5684, which shines a light of transparency on the practice of pension spiking for employees within the Illinois Municipal Retirement System (IMRF). Breen's bill requires full disclosure at an open meeting of a governing board of exactly how a retiring employee’s salary would be affected, before any potential pension spiking payment can be considered. You may watch the interview by clicking on the image above.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has announced that his office is upgrading security features to the Driver’s License/ID card design and expanding the central issuance process for driver’s licenses and ID cards to all applicants. With implementation of these changes, Illinois has moved closer to achieving full REAL ID compliance which is a federal mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

By the end of July, applicants visiting Driver Services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent DL/ID card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary secure paper driver’s license, which is valid for 45 days and will serve as their DL/ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. The temporary, secure paper driver’s license or ID card will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the permanent driver’s license or ID card. In addition, the facility employee will return the old DL/ID card back to the applicant after punching a hole in it.

Meanwhile, the applicant’s information will be sent to a centralized, secure facility in Illinois. After fraud checks have been conducted to ensure the applicant’s identity, a higher quality, more secure DL/ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to the applicant’s address.

“These changes are necessary for Illinois to be REAL ID compliant,” said White. In addition, the changes further enhance our efforts to protect Illinoisans from fraud and identity theft.” The upgraded driver’s license and ID card contain a variety of enhanced security features that take advantage of new developments in technology.”

For purposes of air travel, DHS states that it will accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old DL/ID to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail. Illinois joins 39 other states that have moved to centralized production of DL/ID cards. This includes heavily populated states like California, Texas, and New York – as well as Illinois’ neighboring states.

These necessary changes are important steps toward becoming REAL ID compliant. DHS announced in January that Illinois DL/IDs will continue to be accepted as primary forms of identification to board commercial airplanes for domestic travel until January 22, 2018. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office continues to work with DHS and the Illinois General Assembly on the Real ID Act.

“Becoming REAL ID compliant is a step-by-step process, and with these changes Illinois is now 84 percent compliant with the federal mandate,” said White.

Central issuance provides better fraud and identity theft prevention by allowing the office to investigate possible fraud before applicants receive their DL/ID – and preventing its issuance and mailing. In addition, the design of the DL/ID card has been upgraded with important features that over-the-counter technology simply cannot produce. These types of anti-counterfeiting security features help prevent and deter fraud.

The transition to central issuance will take place in phases. First, beginning this week, Safe Driver Renewal applicants will receive by mail their new driver’s license with the upgraded security features. These motorists opted for and expect to receive their driver’s license via mail. Second, through a gradual rollout, Driver Services facilities throughout the state will implement central issuance using the newly designed card. By the end of July, all Driver Services facilities will have transitioned to central issuance.

It is imperative that applicants ensure their address is updated with the Secretary of State’s office in order to receive the permanent driver’s license or ID card. By law, address changes must be reported within 10 days. Illinoisans can update their address online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. If an applicant does not receive their new permanent driver’s license or ID card after 15 business days of visiting a facility, they can check the status atwww.cyberdriveillinois.com or call 217-782-7044.

While the driver’s license and ID card upgrades are being implemented, there will be more than one valid driver’s license/ID card until the old design format is phased out. Fees remained unchanged.
To access a video illustrating the changes, click here.
The House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation that would send $700 million in designated funds to human service agencies that have been caught in the state’s budget battle. In response to the bipartisan support given to SB 2038, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has issued the following statement:

“While Speaker Madigan continues his efforts to score political points through continued gridlock, today we saw a more of a new trend in Springfield: Democrat lawmakers coming back to the negotiating table with Republicans to fund vital Illinois programs. Just as we did a few weeks ago with emergency funding for higher education, today we approved $700 million in stopgap funding for our human service charities.”

“These social service charities serve the most vulnerable people in our communities, and do so better and cheaper than the state could itself. They have suffered gravely due to the budget stalemate in Springfield. Today’s action is fully funded and balanced, providing emergency resources to these charities so they can serve disabled and disadvantaged Illinoisans in the immediate term.”


“This was not a perfect bill. We have a lot more work to reach a balanced budget and necessary reforms. But today’s action shows how we can reach broad compromise to make Illinois government work, by rejecting out-of-balance spending and narrow special interests.”

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any man, family or class of men.” John Adams.

Our Founding Fathers knew human nature, especially how easily government power can corrupt those entrusted with it. Serving in public office is supposed to be service, not a profit-making enterprise. But for some, the perks and the money blind them to this purpose.

The people of Illinois have seen more than their fair share of corrupt politicians, who bend and often break the rules to pad their wallets. Governors Blagojevich and Ryan are the most prominent recent examples, but we’ve also suffered a flood of legislators, aldermen, and other local officials who have been corrupted by public “service.”

We’ve got a new scandal brewing in Springfield. This one involves the state’s Auditor General, Frank Mautino—the public official whose entire job is ensuring honest, transparent, and effective operation of Illinois government. Our state constitution created the office of Auditor General, in large part to protect the people’s tax dollars from theft, misdirection, and waste.

Prior to becoming Auditor General, Mautino was a state representative for 24 years, rising to Deputy Majority Leader and acting as one of Speaker Mike Madigan’s chief lieutenants. But shortly after becoming Auditor General in January, numerous irregularities in Mautino’s campaign funds were uncovered by watchdogs and good government groups.

It turns out, Mautino made payments averaging over $20,000 per year, for 11 years, to a local gas station owned by a city alderman, for alleged “gas” and “repairs” to his automobile. At the same time, Mautino received tens of thousands of dollars in travel reimbursements from the taxpayers of the State of Illinois.

He also averaged almost $400 per month on “campaign meals,” including roughly $33,000 spread over 500 trips to his wife’s restaurant, Alfano’s Little Sicily. There are many other suspicious items on his spending reports, but the real kicker is over $250,000 in alleged campaign payments to his local bank, when the campaign loans reported from the bank only amounted to $26,000.

When you see all this spending by a representative, you’d expect to see some pretty tough re-election campaigns. Except Mautino was either unopposed or very lightly opposed for most of his elections over the last decade.

After months of trying to get answers from Mautino and his lawyers privately, this past week, I joined 20 members of the General Assembly to publicly demand a full explanation and all documents related to these irregular spending items. You see, Mautino has hired a skilled criminal defense attorney—a former federal prosecutor, who served as the U.S. Attorney for Springfield—to defend against our inquiry and another public inquiry by the State Board of Elections. There is also speculation that the FBI and IRS may be looking into this spending, and Mautino’s spokesman has refused to answer reporters’ questions about whether federal investigations are pending.

At this point, we don’t know whether the campaign dollars went to enrich family members and political cronies, or were given in exchange for some political or other favors, or whether some funds were skimmed off the top for personal use—or if all the expenditures, however suspicious-looking, were legitimate campaign items. Without all the documents and a full explanation, we just don’t know.

People often ask me whether we’ll be able to clean up Illinois. It’s disheartening when the Auditor General, the constitutional officer charged with auditing Illinois government, can’t even explain his own records promptly and forthrightly. The only way forward is to seek out every single instance of corruption and self-dealing, and to shine a bright spotlight on every dark corner of Illinois politics.
Lawmakers returned to Springfield this week for what is traditionally the final month of the spring session—the “second half” of legislative work. In the House, we are spending the majority of our time considering Senate bills that were successful in that chamber earlier in the year. Similarly, House bills that received an affirmative vote on the House floor are now being considered in the Senate.

One of the bills that recently advanced from the House to the Senate is my House Bill 5684, which would create the “Local Government Wage Increase Transparency Act.” It garnered a diverse bipartisan group of cosponsors, and the measure passed 100-3. Across the state, taxpayers are suffering because of the practice of pension spiking, which occurs when longtime public employees with large accrued balances of sick time and vacation time are allowed to cash out those balances outside the usual 90-day look-back period before retirement. We can’t ban those payments but through HB 5684, we can require local municipal boards to hold open meetings, with full disclosure to the public of exactly how a retiring employee’s salary would be affected, before any pension spiking can even be considered. This sort of public notice (and shaming in some cases!) will hopefully put an end this practice, saving municipalities and taxpayers substantial amounts of money.

”Charlie Brown” Moment as Democrats Kill Reform to Remove Political Influence from Legislative Map-Drawing
This morning, Senate Democrats killed a constitutional amendment to remove the legislative map-drawing process from the hands of legislators. The House approved the amendment almost unanimously on Tuesday, in hopes of ending the every-decade practice of drawing legislative maps gerrymandered to protect incumbents and special interests. Today, it became clear that Speaker Mike Madigan only allowed HJRCA 58 to proceed in order to allow his vulnerable House Democrats to cast a fake vote for reform, knowing full well that it would never make it to the ballot for consideration by the voters, who would almost certainly approve such mapping reforms. HJRCA 58 would have put redistricting in the hands of an independent commission appointed together by the Illinois Supreme Court’s chief justice and the most senior justice of the other political party.

When this constitutional amendment was first debated a few weeks ago, I filed a proposal to include congressional remapping to ensure real and total reform of gerrymandering, once and for all. When that request was refused, I had an indication that the “fix was in.” During our debate on the measure on Tuesday, I warned about the people of Illinois being treated like Charlie Brown by Illinois Democrats. Today’s action by the Senate, on the heels of a 105-7 vote in favor of HJRCA 58 in the House, proves the blatant insincerity of the Illinois Democrats on remapping reform. You can listen to my floor comments on the bill by clicking on the image above.

Breen Argues Against Bill that would Require Free Abortion Pills Without a Copay
Just the other day, we had a heated debate over a bill that would enshrine in Illinois state statute a version of the Obamacare HHS “abortion pill mandate,” which has been in the news these past couple years. This Illinois version would actually be an expansion of and worse than the federal mandate. It would require insurance companies to provide roughly 40 different types of abortion pills, sterilizations, and contraceptives, mandating 12 month supplies, with no copay. You would still have to pay a copay for your sick child's amoxicillin or your heart medicine, but under this bill, abortion pills would be totally free. If you'd like to see my floor debate on this topic, you can click on the picture above.

Senate Bills Now Move through House
When Senate Bills are approved and move to the House for consideration, I carefully choose a group of bills that I will champion in our chamber of the General Assembly. This year I signed on as the Chief House Sponsor of seven Senate Bills. They include:

SB 2174: This bill is part of a package of bills that respond to financial abuses that occurred at the College of DuPage. It would require that every voting member of the governing board of a public university complete four hours of professional development training within two years of taking office, and every two years after that. I presented the bill to the House Higher Education Committee on Wednesday afternoon, and it received a unanimous favorable vote.

SB 2279: This initiative seeks to strengthen Free Speech rights of college students by requiring state-sponsored institutions of higher learning to adopt policies protecting the First Amendment rights of student-athletes.

SB 2286: This initiative would expand our current laws as they relate to posting requirements for our state’s human trafficking hotline. SB 2286 requires that notices be posted to ensure that employees of hotels and motels are aware of the hotline and the fact that help is available to get them out of a trafficking situation. On Wednesday morning the House Judiciary-Civil Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill.

SB 2512: When children are in a situation where temporary guardianship or temporary custody must be arranged, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is supposed to make a reasonable effort to identify and locate a relative who is able and willing to care for a child who needs placement. Unfortunately, since this process is not codified through the statute, courts often receive incomplete information about extended family members, who would have been available to provide a temporary safe home for a child. Without these family members, such kids may be unnecessarily put in temporary shelters. Through SB 2512, courts will be required to ask parents/guardians all known names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the child’s living adult relatives who could possibly care for the child. I presented the bill on Wednesday morning before the House Human Services Committee, where it received unanimous support.

SB 2524: This bill would amend the Illinois Identification Card Act to remove the current $10 fee for a first state identification card for wards of the state who are between the ages of 16-21. This is a common-sense reform to ensure that kids who are already our state’s responsibility will get proper identification. The bill received the unanimous support of the House Juvenile Justice & System-Involved Youth on Tuesday.

SB 2799: Similar to my HB 5930, SB 2799 would end the practice of requiring paper letters to be requested and sent to employers of certified nurse aides. All of this can be done electronically, saving money for the employer and state, and getting certified nurse aides hired and working faster. (My original identical bill, which was previously passed out of the House unanimously, is now moving in the Senate, so this Senate version may not move in the House.)

SB 3047: This legislation fixes a problem in our Illinois sales tax where some items used in cancer treatments are not being treated like prescription drugs and other medical treatment devices, which are currently taxed at 1%. SB 3047 will ensure that these items, which the FDA recognizes as Class III medical devices, are taxed at a consistent level with those other medical treatments.

Per the House calendar, all Senate Bills must move through the committee process by next Friday, May 13. I’m glad to have four of my seven Senate bills passed out of committee so far, and I’ll let you know if I’m able to get any more through in the next week.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is part of a growing number of Republican lawmakers who is demanding answers from newly-appointed Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino about irregularities in his campaign spending over the last several years.

Breen and 19 other Republicans from the General Assembly sent a certified letter to Mautino this week demanding that he provide a full explanation of the activities of his campaign committee, the Committee for Frank J. Mautino, and provide documentation that explains questionable spending practices. “As the Auditor General for the State of Illinois, Mr. Mautino is charged with ensuring the highest ethical standards by our state agencies,” said Breen. “When he refuses to be forthright with his own spending, it casts doubt on his leadership and erodes public trust.”

According to Breen, campaign records show that between 2011-2014, Mautino spent close to $121,000 on gas and campaign vehicle repairs. Additionally, since 2005, checks totaling than $213,000 in gas and vehicle repairs were sent to one local vendor, Happy’s Super Service Station in Spring Valley, which is not registered as a business with the state but is owned by a Spring Valley alderman. “If the Auditor General has an explanation for these questionable expenditures, he needs to share it immediately, because this type of spending is excessive by anyone’s standards,” said Breen.

At a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday, several Republicans from the House and Senate released the joint letter request for Mautino to clarify the accounting, record keeping, and spending of his campaign committee. “Mr. Mautino has had more than enough time to respond to the letter sent three months ago asking for detailed clarification of questionable campaign spending,” Breen said. “It’s time for Mr. Mautino to explain himself and the activity of his campaign committee—we can't afford even the appearance of a financial cover-up by our state’s Auditor General.”