By Bob Katzen

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio announced a few weeks ago that she has launched an audit of the Massachusetts Legislature—something she promised in her campaign last year. “As I committed, my office has begun an audit of the state Legislature,” said DiZoglio. “We hope this will increase transparency, accountability and equity in an area of state government that has been completely ignored. Historically, the Legislature has been a closed-door operation, where committee votes have been hidden from the general public and legislation has been voted on in the dark of night.”

Last week House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) finally responded to DiZoglio’s announcement. “That your office has the legal authority to conduct an audit of the General Court is a claim entirely without legal support or precedent, as it runs contrary to multiple, explicit provisions of the Massachusetts Constitution, and is wholly unnecessary as the public currently has full and ready access to the House’s financial information,” said Mariano in a letter to DiZoglio.

“All of the House’s accounts are available on the Commonwealth’s Financial Records Transparency Platform (“CTHRU”) webpage, which can be viewed at http://www.macomptroller.org/cthru,” continued the letter. “There are no expenditures of the House that are not posted on CTHRU and available for public inspection. Additionally, the House adopts rules for each legislative session, including a rule that requires all House accounts to be independently audited on an annual basis in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America and the standards applicable to financial audits contained in Government Auditing Standards, issued by the Comptroller General of the United States and that the audit report be filed with the House Clerk for public inspection.”

Following receipt of the letter, DiZoglio released a statement: “I find it disappointing that the speaker is fighting an audit of what is happening in the people’s house, where the people’s business is conducted, using the people’s money,” said DiZoglio. “We are not asking for permission and will continue conducting our audit as planned to help increase transparency, accountability and equity for everyday families,” said DiZoglio.

Stay tuned.

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