Wednesday, January 6, 2016

State audits should be done by the State Auditor

State Auditor & Inspector Gary Jones

There's a spat going on right now between Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office and State Auditor Gary Jones.

The auditor's office notified Pruitt's office in November that they would be conducting a routine audit in January, as specified by state statute. On December 31st, Assistant Attorney General Michael Hunter responded, saying that their office was in the process of procuring an independent auditor, saying "[t]his obviates the necessity of your office conducting the audit you propose".

Jones replied this week, saying "while this may be an administrative decision by your office to spend additional funds on a separate audit, it does not obviate the statutory requirement found in 74 O.S. § 212(B)which dictates that our office perform audits of all state agencies".

This apparently all stems from hurt feelings and thin skin in the Attorney General's office, as members of the AG's staff have told the press that they feel Jones has a conflict of interest due to some fairly generic comments he recently made when asked about staff and spending increases in the AG's office.

I have great respect for Attorney General Pruitt, but this is ridiculous. Pruitt and his office should stop digging their heels in and allow the STATE AUDITOR to do the job he was twice elected by the people of Oklahoma to do.

Resisting a routine, statutorily-prescribed audit by the statutorily-required State Auditor can give the wrong impression.

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