In Audit Push, Diana DiZoglio Getting No Response From Massachusetts Legislature

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By Colin Young
State House News Service

One week since she formally notified them of her plan to launch the first audit of the Massachusetts Legislature in a century, state 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, March 14 in a statement to State House 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 (D-Quincy) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) 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 spokesman did not immediately have a response Tuesday when State House 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 spokesman referred State House News Service to last week’s statement.

Former state 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.”


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