Politics ESSENTIAL POLITICS

This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily newsletter and the California Politics Podcast.

California DemocratsCalifornia Legislature

Democrats block Republican legislator's proposal for forensic audit of UC Office of President

Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) failed to win approval of a follow-up audit of the University of California. (Dante Acosta for Assembly)
Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) failed to win approval of a follow-up audit of the University of California. (Dante Acosta for Assembly)

Two months after a state audit found mismanagement at the University of California, Democratic state lawmakers on Wednesday blocked a Republican legislator’s proposal to have auditors go back in and look deeper at spending, this time with an eye for possible criminal activity.

Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) said the follow-up examination was justified after an audit in April found the UC Office of the President had failed to disclose a $175-million budget surplus to the Board of Regents and the public, was paying excessive salaries and expenses and had inadequate financial safeguards in place to prevent abuse.

The lack of controls, the audit concluded, was “putting millions of dollars at risk of abuse.”

“I am fighting to return trust in the institution of the UC Office of the President for students, parents, faculty and staff,” Acosta said. “Only complete transparency can accomplish that goal.”

However, no Democratic lawmakers on the Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted to authorize a new audit, so the motion failed. Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said the university administration should be given time to address the recommendations of its recent audit.

“I believe this request is premature,” he said.

State Auditor Elaine Howle said Wednesday in response to a legislator’s question that she did not find any evidence of misuse of funds. “We didn’t see anything nefarious,” Howle told the panel.

UC President Janet Napolitano said funds were not hidden, but she has agreed to adopt policies to make the budget process more transparent. Monica Lozano, chairwoman of the UC Board of Regents, told the legislative committee Wednesday that a new audit is “unnecessary” and may interfere with the system’s implementation of recommendations from the last audit, including the hiring of an accountant to look at UC spending.

Latest updates

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
62°