Plain Talk: Auditor Says He Would Have Preferred Legislature Coming Back Into Session to Restore His Office’s Powers

State Auditor Josh Gallion presents his Governor's Travel and Use of State Resources report to members of the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee on June 27, 2018, at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

Recently state Auditor Josh Gallion met with legislative leaders to discuss last-minute legislation jammed through at the recent session in Bismarck to diminish his office’s ability to perform performance audits. While that meeting seems to have produced a consensus that the legislation should have been subjected to a more thorough debate, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) rejected the idea of calling lawmakers back into session.

Gallion, for his part, says he would have liked to see the Legislature come back to Bismarck. “I wish we could have done something,” he said on this episode of Plain Talk.

He said the meeting was a “good exchange of information,” but added that what seems to be troubling lawmakers is that he releases his office’s audits directly to the public and the media unlike his predecessor who gave audits to lawmakers first.

“In the past…we would kind of quietly upload them to our website and then wait for the next meeting of the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee,” Gallion said.

“I think the Legislature liked having that prior notice,” he continued. “My focus is making sure we get that information in the hands of the public.”

In comments made before the interview, Gallion also said that lawmakers “want to be the gatekeepers” to his office’s audits. “That’s not how I do things,” he said.

Also, with the trade war with China escalating, should the long-term threat that Communist regime portends trump the politics of the moment?

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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