The Republican-led Senate has sent the governor a bill to limit the state auditor’s access to some confidential information. It also blocks the auditor from seeking a court order to get records from state agencies or other state officials. Republican Senator Mike Bousselot of Ankeny says State Auditor Rob Sand, the only Democrat in statewide office, has argued he can audit anything at anytime.
Bousselot says shortly after taking office in 2019, Sand began raising inappropriate questions about negotiations for a billion dollar deal involving the University of Iowa’s utilities plant.
That dispute was ultimately decided by the Iowa Supreme Court, in the auditor’s favor. The bill calls for future disputes about government records to be settled by a three-person panel — with representatives of Sand’s office, the governor’s office and the state agency involved.
All 16 Democrats in the Senate voted no. Senator Janet Petersen is a Democrat from Des Moines.
Senator Janice Weiner, a Democrat from Iowa City, says the bill knee caps the state auditor’s office.
Sand says the bill lets government agencies hide records necessary to prove abuse of tax dollars and it allows dishonest insiders to conceal their waste, fraud, and abuse. Governor Kim Reynolds has not commented on the bill. Last May, as she campaigned for Republican Primary candidates, Reynolds said needed a state auditor that’s not trying to sue her every time they turn around.