Port: What happens when a state can’t trust its auditor?


MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota Auditor Josh Gallion has, during his tenure in office, revealed himself to be a rabidly ambitious politician unafraid to use the authority of his office to generate headlines for himself.

Gallion is now embroiled in a war of words with other state officials. He uses Trumpian bluster to inveigh against his critics, accusing them of covering up corruption and dirty deals by taking after his office.

When a politician behaves this way, it’s usually because they want to distract the public from something else. In this instance, Gallion would like you to ignore the outrageously self-serving manner he’s conducted himself in office.

One case in point is the mess Gallion created at the Commerce Department. In 2019 Gallion’s office finished a review of the Commerce Department by suggesting that a crime had occurred around a procurement. Gallion wanted to refer this alleged crime to law enforcement for investigation. When he asked the Legislature’s audit oversight committee for permission, as they law requires, they denied him.

Gallion, the glory hound, then decided to do an end-run around the Legislature, using a tortured interpretation of statute about procurement cards — no such cards were in use by the Commerce Department in this matter — to justify a referral of the matter to the Attorney General’s Office.

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