Gov. Reynolds signs bill restricting state auditor’s authority
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - On Thursday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill that would stop the auditor’s office from going to court against another statewide elected official, department, or agency to enforce a subpoena for documents.
Senate File 478 will change how the State Auditor’s Office is able to get documents for an investigation if a state agency denies access. This includes details related to people’s taxes, medical history, and residential addresses. The bill would also stop the office from receiving investigative reports from law enforcement and information related to cyber security.
Previously, if a department denies the auditor’s request for documents then a judge can intervene in the dispute. This bill will now allow a three-person board with two members from the agencies involved in the dispute and one appointed by the Governor’s Office.
Republicans say this protects Iowans’ confidential information. State Auditor Rob Sand says the bill would block his office from investigating government waste, fraud, and the abuse of taxpayer money.
“We call this the worst pro-corruption bill in Iowa history for a reason. It will allow insiders to play fast and loose with Iowans’ tax dollars because those very same people will be able to deny the Auditor’s Office access to the records necessary to expose them,” said Sand. “As Assistant Attorney General, I prosecuted criminal cases for seven years. This is akin to letting the defendant decide what evidence the judge and jury are allowed to see.”
The law is set to take effect on July 1st, 2023.
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