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The Impact – WA State Auditor on Federal Spending Audit and New Deadly Force Investigation Role

Mike McClanahan profile by Mike McClanahan

With billions upon billions of federal dollars flowing through state agencies during the pandemic, it’s up to the Washington State Auditor’s Office to check the receipts. 

State Auditor Pat McCarthy joined us in the studio this week to talk about the recently released audit of federal spending by state agencies from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

The SAO compiled a mammoth 1,083 page review of how that money was used and whether proper checks and balances were in place. Auditors reported finding information gaps in department records, and “significant problems” with how agencies monitored the federal money they disbursed to other organizations. The auditor’s office concluded that state agencies failed to properly document expenses and lacked safeguards to make sure they only spent federal money for allowable purposes

“We are that outside, independent set of eyes that looks at whether folks did what they were supposed to do with the money,” said McCarthy. “We found that there were known and unknown likely compliance errors. We had questioned costs and we had fraud.”

Auditor McCarthy also explained the new role her agency will play in evaluating deadly force investigations involving law enforcement agencies.

“We will audit all of them,” said McCarthy.

“Did they follow the rules? Did they follow the procedures? Did they follow state law?” said McCarthy. “We won’t be opining on whether it was justified or not. Our role is to look at whether those things happened and to provide that to the public, to the interested parties, to stakeholders on both sides of a deadly force incident.”

Watch the interview here:

Listen to the podcast here:

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