State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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Report: House's Messy Bookkeeping Warrants Internal Auditor

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 12, 2016 12:14 AM

Photo by Associated Press

An annual audit report tells the state House what it already knows: it could do more to account for the taxpayer dollars it spends.

Boyer & Ritter, the consulting firm hired to review the Legislature's 2015 finances, advised that the House's accounting was sufficiently disorganized to warrant the creation of a new job: in-house checkbook wrangler.

The suggestion of a part-time accountant/auditor was made in reference to the dozens of checking accounts to which House leadership and committees are given access.

"By creating this position, we believe increased communication would be strengthened between the custodians of these accounts," said the accounting firm, Boyer & Ritter.

For years, commissioned audit reports have provided the only insight into the finances of Legislature, since it is exempt from the state auditor general's oversight.

These reports have repeatedly noted messy accounting of taxpayer dollars, particularly in the House. Staff have said House makes purchases from more than 30 different checkbooks (by way of contrast, the Senate claims to have centralized its accounts).

The audit report of the fiscal year ending July 2015 was dated December 3, 2015. It was made public on February 9.

The report made other recommendations. There was a suggestion to begin more frequent auditing of the Legislature, to ensure "more timely insight into risk and financial control issues." The report also suggested that "procurement cards" would allow the House to streamline bookkeeping while giving leaders and committee spending autonomy.

"This is the first time we've heard that," said House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin.

The chairman of the House committee that accepts the audit report declined to provide a comment.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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