The State Auditor is supposed to be “The Taxpayers’ Watchdog.” There is one issue in the State Auditor’s race: whether you want to help wake up the watchdog by voting for Rob Sand.
The State Auditor is responsible for special investigations into suspected misuse of taxpayer money. After each investigation, the Auditor’s report is sent to the appropriate county attorney and to the Attorney General’s Office.
There, it almost always landed on Rob Sand’s desk. No one in Iowa has prosecuted more public corruption in the last decade than Rob.
He is running for State Auditor in part because he has worked closely with the office for years on public corruption issues and knows that the current Auditor refuses to build the right team for public corruption investigations. Because the current State Auditor refuses to hire anyone with financial prosecution experience or law enforcement experience, the State Auditor’s investigations sometimes do not hold up well in courtrooms. Iowa needs a State Auditor that respects the perspective of both accountants and law enforcement officials in corruption investigations. That is Rob Sand.
Iowa Code Chapter 11.4 requires that the Auditor, in every audit, say whether the body audited “is efficiently conducted, and if the maximum results for the money expended are obtained,” or “needlessly conflicts with or duplicates the work done by any other department.” The Auditor is also required by law to “include “any recommendations for greater simplicity, accuracy, efficiency, or economy in the operation of the business of the several departments and institutions.”
Unfortunately, this Auditor does not do this important work to ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted. In fact, in launching her reelection effort, she said that she had made only “several” efficiency recommendations in four years. Given our current budget crunches, there is no excuse for failing to do this.
Rob Sand will ensure the State Auditor’s Office is a partner to local, county, and state government in helping find ways to provide basic services more efficiently. He’s made a career of holding individuals accountable when they fail to follow the law. This campaign is about doing the same for the State Auditor.
In 2017, Iowa borrowed about $160 for each Iowa voter just to pay its regular annual expenses. In addition, state budgets were reduced every three months during the year. If that happened to your income, you’d never say you had a “stable” year. Yet the current State Auditor called that budget “stable.” The current State Auditor, who shares the same party affiliation as the legislature and the Governor, also called this borrowing “balanced” and “responsible.” It is neither. It appears that the State Auditor put her partisan affiliation ahead of the public interest.
Rob Sand has a record of making serious legal determinations without regard to politics. He has prosecuted both Democrats and Republicans. As State Auditor, he will continue to put the public interest before ones political party, no matter which party is leading the state.
BUILDING A BALANCED TEAM: CPAs AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
The current State Auditor will hire only accountants and CPAs, even for the Investigative Division of the State Auditor’s office that performs public corruption investigations for law enforcement. That is like a football team with 11 quarterbacks playing on offense at the same time. If you want better outcomes, you need to have people with different backgrounds and gifts working together as a team.
It is especially surprising that the current State Auditor has this mindset given that people from all walks of life have successfully served as State Auditor. Past State Auditors have been teachers, lawyers, businessmen, real estate, and farmers. The vast majority of Iowa’s State Auditors have not been CPAs, and have served Iowa well.
My opponent is now going a step further to claim it will cost the state millions if the job is not held by a CPA because audits will need to be outsourced. Of course, that’s not true, but it is also funny: my opponent might be the only Republican that thinks that government doing something is cheaper than the private sector doing it! The “CPA only” idea is a false claim attempting to prevent a conversation about my opponent’s record in office. It is time to bring the right professional balance to the office.