Last year state Auditor Josh Gallion, a Republican, released an audit of executive branch travel and security costs (though the auditor got shut down on the latter, with the ND Highway Patrol citing state law prohibiting the release of details about security efforts).
Gallion was attacked for his decision to conduct that audit targeting the administration of fellow Republican Doug Burgum, but the review was needed. It didn’t reveal anything inappropriate in terms of the Burgum administration’s use of state travel resources, but the audit did demonstrate a need for better reporting in that area.
Flash forward to the legislative session and we have HB1363, introduced by Rep. Bill Devlin (R-Finley), which would put in place reporting and transparency requirements for executive branch travel and security:
This all seems perfectly reasonable to me. Some are characterizing this as yet another chapter in saga of the “frosty relationship” between lawmakers and Governor Burgum (which Burgum talked about with me yesterday during a podcast interview), but I’m not sure that’s accurate.
This isn’t about Burgum specifically. This is about the state Auditor revealing an area of public expenditures which isn’t sufficiently transparent, and Rep. Devlin (who has a background in the newspaper industry) introducing legislation to address the problem.