One week since she formally notified them of her plan to launch the first audit of the Legislature in a century, Auditor Diana DiZoglio said Tuesday that her office still has not received any response from the House or Senate.
Legislative leaders, with whom DiZoglio publicly clashed as a member of both the House and Senate, last week either ignored or mostly brushed aside the auditor’s announcement that her office intends to scrutinize the operations of the Legislature, which she said historically “has been a closed-door operation.” She said Tuesday that her office is still working to make contact.
“The Legislature has yet to respond to our engagement letter. We will soon be following up to our initial engagement letter in accordance with Government Auditing Standards. Our team is still proceeding in their outreach to both chambers to schedule an entrance conference — kicking off the engagement,” DiZoglio said Tuesday in a statement to the News Service. “We are hopeful the Legislature welcomes the opportunity to work together and shine a light on areas of potential improvement.”
The engagement letters that DiZoglio sent last Tuesday to House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka said that the audit “will include but not be limited to the review of access to budgetary, hiring, spending and procurement information, as well as information regarding active and pending legislation, the process for appointing committees, the adoption and suspension of House and Senate rules and the policies and procedures of the House and Senate.”
Mariano’s office did not respond last week to a request for comment on DiZoglio’s announcement and a Mariano spokesperson did not immediately have a response Tuesday when the News Service asked if the House intends to cooperate with DiZoglio’s office. Spilka’s office last week released a statement citing the separation of powers clause, suggesting that the Senate is not under DiZoglio’s jurisdiction. Asked Tuesday if the Senate will cooperate, a Spilka spokesperson referred the News Service to last week’s statement.
Former Auditor Suzanne Bump, who endorsed DiZoglio’s opponent in last year’s Democratic primary, contended that the office could not audit the Legislature. The state auditor’s governing statute says the office must audit the “accounts, programs, activities and functions” of “all departments, offices, commissions, institutions and activities of the commonwealth, including those of districts and authorities created by the general court.”
The same section also gives the state Superior Court “jurisdiction to enforce the production of records that the department requires to be produced pursuant to this section, and the court shall order the production of all such records within the scope of any such audit.”