May 2, 2023
Massachusetts House speaker rejects legislative audit
Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo has rejected a proposal for a legislative audit, citing concerns over the independence of the auditor and the potential for political interference.
The proposal, put forward by Republican lawmakers, called for an audit of the House of Representatives' finances and operations, including its use of taxpayer funds and compliance with state laws and regulations.
In a statement, DeLeo said that while he supports transparency and accountability, he believes that an audit conducted by an outside agency would be more appropriate.
I have concerns about the independence of the auditor and the potential for political interference in the audit process, he said. I believe that an audit conducted by an outside agency would be more objective and impartial.
DeLeo's decision has been criticized by some lawmakers and government watchdog groups, who argue that the House should be subject to the same level of scrutiny as other state agencies.
Transparency and accountability are essential to good government, and the House of Representatives should be no exception, said Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts. We urge Speaker DeLeo to reconsider his decision and allow for a legislative audit to take place.
The proposal for a legislative audit comes amid a series of scandals involving the Massachusetts State House, including allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by lawmakers and staff.
In response, DeLeo has established a task force to review the House's policies and procedures for addressing sexual harassment and misconduct, and has pledged to take action to ensure a safe and respectful workplace for all employees.
However, some lawmakers and advocates argue that a comprehensive audit is needed to address broader issues of transparency and accountability in the House.
An audit is necessary to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and that the House is operating in compliance with state laws and regulations, said Republican State Representative Brad Jones, who co-sponsored the proposal for a legislative audit.
As the debate over the audit continues, it remains to be seen whether DeLeo will reconsider his decision and allow for greater transparency and accountability in the Massachusetts State House.