Candidates for state auditor, Democratic incumbent Rob Sand (left) and Republican challenger Todd Halbur, look on “Iowa Press” on Oct. 21 on Iowa PBS. (Monitor capture from Iowa PBS video)
Candidates jogging to be Iowa’s taxpayer watchdog both worked in state governing administration and say they have shown their means to hold community companies accountable for squander, fraud and abuse.
Democratic Condition Auditor Rob Sand is functioning for re-election to a next four-12 months phrase. He faces Republican challenger Todd Halbur, who served as chief economical officer of a condition agency and has banking and finance expertise.
Neither are accredited certified general public accountants.
Sand, a attorney, was criticized when jogging for the office in 2018 for not currently being a CPA. A state licensing board identified there are no legal needs to have a CPA license to maintain the business.
Present-day town of residence: Clive
Profession: Tiny enterprise owner of a university offer distribution enterprise and licensed Realtor
Political working experience: Initially-time candidate
Current town of residence: Des Moines
Profession: Point out auditor
Political practical experience: Iowa Auditor since January 2019
Halbur owns a faculty supply distribution organization and is a certified true estate agent. He also served as CFO at the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, which dismissed him in 2018.
He recently was awarded $1 million by a Polk County jury as the result of a whistleblower lawsuit from the division and its administrator for wrongful termination. Halbur reported he was fired following raising concerns about abnormal price markups and payments manufactured beneath an incorrect no-bid contract.
Todd Halbur, a Republican prospect for Iowa condition auditor
Halbur, a first-time candidate, explained to The Gazette he’s a “political outsider” and “a fiscal conservative with a economic agenda Iowans want,” and who is “gonna be a fighter for the Iowa taxpayer.”
“I did have the courage, conviction and the integrity to stand up for what is proper,” Halbur reported in the course of a current recording of “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS, referring to his lawsuit. “And I in the end paid that price, and I’ll continue on to do that as the point out auditor.”
Halbur explained he calculated the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division overcharged shops above $8.2 million from fiscal 2013 to 2017.
Sand served in the Iowa Lawyer General’s Office environment from 2010 to 2017 as a prosecutor of public corruption scenarios, which include the major lottery rigging scheme in American record.
He was elected state auditor in 2018, the very first Democrat to be elected to the office environment in approximately 50 yrs.
Iowa Point out Auditor Rob Sand speaks July 26 at a city corridor conference in Greene Square in Cedar Rapids. (Amir Prellberg/Freelance for The Gazette)
The business office is dependable for auditing the economic functions of Iowa’s condition and local governments and delivers assistance to CPA corporations performing these kinds of audits.
Sand touts ‘aggressive’ technique
If reelected, Sand mentioned he would keep on an “aggressive,” “anti-partisan” technique to discover misspent money.
“We’re holding insiders accountable, and performing in opposition to the concept of unaccountable community servants,” Sand said for the duration of a July city hall event in Cedar Rapids.
In his initial time period, Sand said his office environment discovered more than $25 million in misspent resources, and created an performance plan to assist community entities uncover new ways to help you save funds.
Sand claimed he would go on to obtain and unfold concepts from Iowans that help you save taxpayer pounds, and to demand from customers transparency from condition govt. He observed he took the College of Iowa to the Iowa Supreme Court and won, forcing it to convert in excess of files about a general public-non-public partnership with a Paris-dependent collaborative to run the UI utilities technique for the future 50 years.
Sand, far too, has termed for holding point out workers individually accountable for financial damages arising from lawsuits submitted from the condition, significantly in place of work sexual harassment scenarios, which includes likely immediately after their state pension.
“We have compensated many tens of millions of dollars to targets of sexual harassment,” Sand for the duration of the Cedar Rapids city hall. “But, then we have accomplished very little to hold the people accountable who really fully commited the harassment.”
He employed the illustration of former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison. The condition agreed to spend $4.1 million to settle statements from two gals who say they have been repeatedly sexually harassed by the previous point out director.
Halbur, showing up on “Iowa Press” alongside Sand, reported he would get the job done with lawmakers to pass more robust legislation to maintain offenders accountable who are used by the condition.
Halbur: Auditor ought to keep away from ‘partisan’ disputes
Halbur became the Republican nominee for auditor by narrowly defeating former state Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa in the June main.
Halbur claimed he needs to enhance the frequency of point out audits of lesser regional governmental agencies. At present, Iowa communities beneath 2,000 inhabitants with a spending plan of significantly less than $1 million are audited at least the moment just about every eight decades. He reported that is way too lengthy amongst audits, and would perform with the Legislature to call for audits each two many years.
Halbur, speaking this summer months at the Des Moines Sign-up Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, explained he wishes to carry a conservative method to the business, but that the condition auditor really should keep out of “partisan” disputes.
Republicans have accused Sand of using the auditor’s office environment for partisan assaults, pointing to audits concentrated on Gov. Kim Reynolds. A person audit led to Reynolds returning $21 million in federal COVID-19 support that was improperly put in. A further alleged the Republican governor improperly promoted herself in a taxpayer-funded general public awareness campaign for the duration of the pandemic — a declare the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board rejected.
Sand noted he also criticized users of the Polk County Board of Supervisors, most of whom are Democrats, for the very same issue.
He explained his business has also led investigations that forged the Reynolds administration in a favorable light, like a person exhibiting officials experienced correctly claimed COVID-19 knowledge in the 1st calendar year of the pandemic.
He also observed he appointed a Republican, an independent and a Democrat to his senior management staff, and has promoted people today who designed campaign contributions to his opponent in 2018.
“I am not below to provide myself. I am not listed here to extract political retribution,” Sand said in Cedar Rapids. “And so we have criticized the governor at occasions, but we have also defended her, dependent on what the information truly phone for.”
Reynolds has publicly complained about the auditor’s office, like remarking in Might that she wishes a state auditor “that’s not hoping to sue me every time they switch all around.” Sand explained at the time he had by no means sued Reynolds.
Halbur mentioned he would get the job done to retain the independence of the workplace and guarantee all point out businesses, together with the governor’s place of work, are fiscally responsible with tax bucks.
He mentioned he would use the place of work to advocate for modifications that would reduce authorities costs in Iowa, these types of as receiving the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division out of the wholesale liquor small business.
Economic administration questioned
Audits conducted by then-Auditor Mary Mosiman’s business office discovered deficiencies in the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Divisions economic history maintaining 3 many years in a row. These deficiencies provided failure to appropriately report capital property. A fiscal 2016 audit also discovered 5 of its contracts did not have satisfactory monitoring and critique clauses and 3 have been improperly self-renewing.
Halbur started out operating for the company commencing in 2015. He was liable for preparing, directing and overseeing its approximated $300 million functions, including advising the agency’s administrator and main functioning officer on money management, stock manage, audit conclusions and adjustments.
Halbur explained the contracts described in the audit predated his joining the division.
“None of all those contracts were being something I geared up,” he stated, introducing the contracts had been subsequently revised.
A critique of on line court docket records also show Halbur was individually sued for unpaid debts totaling a lot more than $65,000 and experienced his wages withheld to pay out for court docket judgments from him.
Halbur stated the statements happened owing to the final result of the fiscal disaster back in 2008 and 2009, ended up paid out, glad and dismissed.
Early voting has started off in Iowa. The election is Nov. 8.
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