State Auditor says lawsuit possible if changes to her office's duties aren't undone

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto is threatening court action if a new law stripping her office of county auditing duties isn't undone in the upcoming legislative special session, MPR News reports.

Otto, in an interview with MPR News host Tom Weber, said if lawmakers choose not to "deal with this" during the upcoming special session, "they've made a choice. If they don't want to [spend money on a lawsuit], they should take care of it in a special session."

The point of contention

The duties of Otto and the state auditor's office threatened to become a sticking point last week.

It was revealed one of the laws approved in the waning hours of the legislative session allows Minnesota counties to hire accountants from the private sector to conduct financial reviews, instead of having the state auditor do it.

Otto says it's unconstitutional and private sectors audits won't be done in the best interest of taxpayers. The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Sarah Anderson from Plymouth, says it's a cheaper option for counties who want it, MPR reports.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill into law – but later asked for a promise from legislators they'd take that provision out during the special session.

He threatened to not convene a special session unless it came with a promise it would get addressed.

But this week, Dayton backed down from that stance, saying he wasn't going to put the jobs of more than 9,000 state employees at risk. If a final budget deal doesn't get resolved by July 1, Minnesota will go into partial government shutdown, and those employees will be laid off.

Others weigh in

On Tuesday, former Minnesota State Treasurer Bob Mattson told WCCO he supports Otto's fight.

Mattson was the state's treasurer from 1983 to 1987 – and you may notice that now, we don't have a state treasurer.

Legislators tried to take away Mattson's duties and staff while he was in office, WCCO says, and he pushed back, eventually prevailing with a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The office was eventually abolished however, in early 2003.

This embed is invalid

In an editorial published last week, the Star Tribune endorsed the work of the state auditor’s office, suggesting it has guarded taxpayers’ interests so effectively that most Minnesotans are unaware of it.

Arne Carlson, a Republican who served as both governor and state auditor, wrote in a blog post that the move to reduce the state auditor’s authority is motivated by politics, not the state’s best interests.

Next Up

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

gray wolf

Gray wolf removed from the endangered species list

A decision on whether they can be hunted in Minnesota will come later.

covid saliva test

Minnesota opening its 7th saliva testing location in St. Paul

The tests are free and open to anyone regardless of if they have symptoms.

pete stauber - qunn nystrom CD8

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom.

fire, flames

Lives saved as passerby, city workers rescue from 3 from Golden Valley fire

The Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the fire Wednesday morning.

Caribou Coffee Holiday 2020

Caribou Coffee rolls out holiday cups, menu early

The holiday season is underway at some Twin Cities stores, with a nationwide rollout planned for Nov. 5.

Malik Beasley

Charges: Timberwolves' Beasley pointed assault rifle at family on a home tour

The family was on the Parade of Homes tour when Beasley allegedly pointed the gun at them, telling them to get off his property.

Related