Communications & Public Affairs
April 14, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
House Dems Call for Accountability as SB895 Heads to Committee
OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus released the following statements today in response to Senate Bill 895 being scheduled to be heard this afternoon in the House Appropriation and Budget Committee.
SB895 authorizes a state agency to choose a public or certified public accountant to conduct its annual audit.
House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman:
“Given the state auditor’s recent findings regarding Epic, it is appalling that we are entertaining legislation that would make it harder for taxpayers to track how their tax dollars are being spent. Our citizens deserve transparency and accountability, and the Legislature is further isolating them from those principles with this bill. ”
Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa:
“Letting agencies choose their own auditors is a recipe for disaster. Who watches the watchmen? How will we know that taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly? We elect a state auditor to be a guardian of the people’s interest. It is wrong to allow agencies to choose their own oversight, and we would fail in our duty to the people if we were to let this happen. Oklahomans deserve a clean accounting of how all public dollars are spent, not a bill written by special interests to advance their own agenda.”
Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City:
“Why should we allow agencies to go shopping for a favorable auditor? What kind of accountability is that? Every four years the people of Oklahoma decide who they want to audit state agencies when they elect the state auditor and inspector. The people trust the state auditor to be the state’s watchdog for agency spending and accountability and so should the Legislature.”
Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater:
“What concerns me most is that we currently have a system for audits that works. Within that system is a mechanism for rebuttal. It has worked for some time and will continue to work for years to come. This bill does nothing to improve accountability. Instead, it undermines the authority of the state auditor, an official elected by the citizens of our great state.”