JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Republican candidate for state auditor wants to make sure that the office acting as a government watchdog is using taxpayer dollars “wisely and efficiently.”
Saundra McDowell rolled out her “Every Dollar Works” platform on Thursday vowing to return “honesty and transparency” to the office. The plan also includes increasing the auditor’s jurisdiction, auditing all funds under state agencies and officials, and the training of those performing the audits.
McDowell is going up against Democratic Nicole Galloway, who was appointed to the position in 2015 by then Gov. Jay Nixon, and her own finances have been under scrutiny since she won the GOP nomination.
She addressed the the legal and financial troubles on Wednesday, telling MissouriNet that it was a discrepancy of a real estate contract in which she believes she was “defrauded.”
Galloway has said the McDowell cannot manage her own money, let alone audit the state’s money. But McDowell is pushing back on how Galloway has ran the auditor’s office, making her first item on her “Every Dollar Works” platform to audit the auditor’s office.
“Just as Missourians watch their checkbooks, Missouri’s State Auditor regularly audits every financial facet of Missouri government. But somehow the Auditor’s office escapes this same scrutiny. This needs to change,” McDowell’s platform states.
According to McDowell, the audit of the auditor’s office would ensure that the office is using taxpayers dollars wisely and efficiently and only when necessary, that the office limits unnecessary expenditures, and that recommendations are implemented.
The platform specifically addresses the transparency lawsuit against Galloway, promising the under McDowell the office would be the very picture of government transparency and accountability.
Former State Auditor Tom Schweich’s audits have gone incomplete, with audits conducted from Schweich’s terms having little to no follow-up, McDowell states.
“Missourians deserves better,” McDowell’s plan states. It notes that “the current Auditor has disbanded these taxpayer watchdog teams” and that “audits of school districts and the court system have had little to no follow up and no current audits of taxpayer funds in these entities have happened since Galloway took office.”
McDowell notes that there are over one thousand “Funds” set up in state agencies and under elected officials that have gone unaudited.
“There are millions of taxpayer dollars sitting in these funds, just waiting to be used as slush funds, outside of the checks and balances built into the normal appropriation process,” McDowell’s plan states. “These funds should be audited by the State Auditor to make sure they are being used appropriately, effectively, and legally.”
She also plans to focus on how the staff in the auditor’s office are trained, implementing a yearly “Auditor Bootcamp” and developing a “Best Practices Manual.”
Part of the “Every Dollar Works” platform is increasing the jurisdiction of the Auditor’s office to include all areas of government that obtain or maintain taxpayer funds.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.