As if raiding funds devoted to public schools is not enough, the budget changes released by House Democrats also transfers an additional $10 million from the performance audits fund account. As the Washington Policy Center points out, that would mean “nearly 74% of the available funds would have been swept from the purposes intended by taxpayers.”
Acting State Auditor Jan Jutte expressed concern that Democrats were pursuing the transfer of funds in an effort to respond to the “controversy surrounding indicted State Auditor Troy Kelley.” She urged lawmakers not to further damage the performance audit program’s capabilities in a written appeal. Jutte wrote,
“I am asking you to look beyond the controversy and financial pressure of the moment, and consider the permanent institutions of our state. Our founders were wise in establishing an independent State Auditor’s Office to hold government accountable for the use of public resources. I believe you, like me, would like to see that institution continue with the full capability invested in it by the people. I would ask to you to reconsider the path taken in the budget proposals now before you.”
Former State Auditor Brian Sonntag is supporting Jutte’s plea. Sonntag told the Washington Policy Center,
“This is further evidence of a void in leadership. While the Performance Audit work is essential, it’s understandable that the Legislature doesn’t want to invest in an agency in crisis. It is troubling that they also can’t muster the courage to engage in impeachment proceedings. Notwithstanding Kelley’s refusal to resign, it is important to maintain the integrity of the performance audit account so the important work for taxpayers can continue.”
Sonntag hit the nail on the head. Rather than muster the courage to work with Republicans to impeach Kelley, Democrats prefer to weaken the agency that their disgraced fellow party member hangs on to. It’s Democrats trying to save face at the expense of government accountability.