NewsPublic Affairs / October 31, 2018

Auditor Candidates Stress Need For Greater Transparency

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Auditor Candidates Stress Need For Greater Transparency

Auditor Candidates Stress Need For Greater Transparency

State Auditor Tera Klutz, the Republican incumbent, faces off in her re-election bid against Democrat Joselyn Whitticker and Libertarian John Schick.

This is actually Klutz’s first run for state auditor; she was appointed to the job in 2017. She leans on a message of transparency and stability. Klutz is also the first CPA – certified public accountant – to serve as auditor. And she says that’s a real strength.

“In order for people to make good decisions – whether it’s legislators, taxpayers, voters – they need to know how the money is spent and where it goes,” Klutz says.

Klutz knows the auditor’s race doesn’t draw a lot of attention; she says a lot of her campaign pitch is educating voters on what she does.

“A lot of times, the good work that you do – like we all expect – goes on behind the scenes," Klutz says. "And the only thing you’re going to hear about is if we do something wrong.”

She says that’s why she talks about transparency. Klutz oversaw a year-long overhaul of the state’s online transparency portal, which allows anyone to look at money coming in and going out of state government. And she says that work isn’t finished; she wants more information on the site in the coming years.

Libertarian John Schick has a similar message. This is Schick’s second run for the job; the management consultant also ran on the Libertarian ticket in 2014. He has plans for the online transparency portal, if elected.

“Improve the transparency of spending at the county level," Schick says. "Much of the revenue that goes through the state government winds up getting funneled out to the counties.”

Schick also says he’s the only candidate who could be a truly independent voice in the auditor’s office. As a Libertarian, he argues, he's free from the influence of either major party. And he says he’ll use that freedom in the office.

“Use the auditor’s office as a way to make sure everyone is aware of the difference between spending that is mandated by the constitution and by law and any spending that is more politically motivated,” Schick says.

Democrat Joselyn Whitticker echoes a similar argument about the need to use the auditor's office to promote greater transparency throughout state government.

Whitticker is a small business owner and a former local government official and teacher.

She says a Democrat in the auditor’s office could challenge Republicans, who control just about every statewide elected office and the General Assembly, on how they’re spending the state’s money – for example, she says, on I-69.

“How much money have we thrown at or actually used? There have been three major contractors; it’s still not finished,” Whitticker says.

Whitticker says she can also be a watchdog in cases like the recent controversy at Department of Child Services. The auditor’s office helps oversee the transfer of funds Gov. Eric Holcomb made to the agency.

“What has happened and what has changed since all that money has been placed there? Or has anything changed?” Whitticker says.

Republicans have won every election for Auditor of State since 1982.

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