Office of the Auditor’s Response to Draft Report of the House Investigative Committee to Investigate Compliance with Audit Nos. 19-12 and 21-01

Posted on Jan 28, 2022 in Summary

PHOTO: Office of the Auditor

We received a copy of a draft report from the chair of the House Committee to Investigate Compliance with Audit Nos. 19-12 and 21-01 on December 30, 2021, and submitted this response on January 14, 2022.  The draft we responded to was incomplete; recommendations were missing in some instances and notes and placeholders indicated that substantive content would be added to the final report.  This was confirmed when the committee asked for an additional 10 days to complete its report.  The Office of the Auditor was denied the opportunity to offer explanation, clarification, or context to unsupported allegations and innuendo contained only in the final report issued on January 29, 2022.  We will supplement this response in the coming days.

The two audits the committee was established to investigate contained serious, evidence-based findings about longstanding mismanagement of public lands and state-owned assets by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Agribusiness Development Corporation.  Despite the committee’s charge, those factual findings are largely absent from the committee’s report and in some instances are dismissed without rationale.  The committee’s failure to fully investigate these real, documented problems demonstrate the importance of keeping government accountability agencies like the Office of the Auditor free from political interference.  We are deeply concerned that the relentless personal attacks on the Auditor – defamatory and libelous in most other contexts – deflect attention from the serious issues raised in our audits, as well as the broader consequences of committee chair Della Au Belatti’s yearlong campaign to strip the Office of the Auditor of the independence necessary to keep government transparent and accountable. 

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