Des Moines Register
by Kathie Obradovich
It’s tempting to treat state audits like political soccer balls these days, since Auditor David Vaudt has so publicly teamed up with Republican Terry Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign.
That may be one reason a recent audit of the Department of Natural Resources generated so much heat last week. The audit found 16 state laws that the DNR was not following, sparking outrage and dismay from some environmental advocates and lawmakers. None of the deficiencies is likely to endanger public safety, but they included attention-getting issues like infectious waste treatment facilities.
Gov. Chet Culver called the news coverage “overstated and overblown,” and suggested there may have been some politics behind the timing of the audit. Vaudt responded with disappointment that Culver was trying to play politics.
Vaudt’s office has been steadily releasing annual audits for state agencies and other entities for weeks, so the charge of political timing doesn’t really hold water. The audits are getting more news media scrutiny in recent weeks, since the disclosure of questionable spending at the Alcoholic Beverages Division.