FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2015
For More Information Contact:
Senator Cowles – (800) 334-1465
Representative Kerkman – (888) 529-0061
Joint Audit Committee Passes LAB Authority Bills
MADISON – The Joint Legislative Audit Committee today passed companion bills that reaffirm the Legislative Audit Bureau’s authority to review state agency documents and specifically provides LAB access to Government Accountability Board (GAB) investigatory records. Assembly Bill 9 and Senate Bill 6 were passed unanimously by the committee.
In December, the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released Report 14-14: Government Accountability Board. Although the audit scope included analyzing the GAB’s processes for investigating and resolving complaints, the LAB was denied access to certain records. A July 2014 Attorney General opinion concluded that Wis. Stat. 12.13(5) prohibits GAB from providing confidential investigative records to LAB because that disclosure is not “specifically authorized by law.”
“Without Audit Bureau authority to access and analyze certain confidential records, it is hard to have complete confidence in an agency’s oversight of those areas,” said Representative Kerkman (R-Salem). “Without the full access themselves, the public and the Legislature look to the work of the Audit Bureau to ensure their trust in state agencies is well-placed.”
“As co-chair of the Joint Audit Committee, the Audit Bureau’s ability to review all state agency documents is paramount to better serve the taxpayers of Wisconsin to keep government transparent and accountable. Legislatively reaffirming the LAB’s authority to review agency records is one of my highest legislative priorities,” said Senator Cowles (R-Green Bay).
The LAB currently has access to all state agency documents; the proposed legislation further reaffirms LAB authority to review agency documents by specifically providing access to documents that are confidential by law. The legislation would not allow the disclosure of confidential information through audit reports.