Gubenatorial Candidate Chris Holbrook was arrested and injured while petitioning for statewide candidates. Charges were later dropped. Our public servants were intentionally oblivious to Minnesota Law to enforce their fictitious law enforcement. After having read the officers who later responded to our continued petitioning our first amendment, they told me that Minneapolis ordinances supersede our constitutional rights. If these police officers are so thoroughly confused in regards to our Bill of Rights they are not fit to wear the uniform. They must have forgotten their oath.
Medica, U-Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota,
HealthPartners and PreferredOne are not subject to the Minnesota Data Practices
Act. The five HMO corporations got an exemption to the law passed. You a citizen and voter do not have any transparency now
in regards to the books. Neither the State Auditor nor the Legislative Auditor
fought back against this usurpation of our right to audit where public funds are
going. This is business as usual for our current political parties in Saint
Paul. When it is politically inconvenient to call our legislators to the carpet
for the people it is apparently easier to just let the ball roll than to get out
the bullhorn and actually be a watchdog of public funds.
Minnesota is one of eight states with two auditors. It is so
confusing that even veteran reporters from the Star Tribune have mistakenly called Jim Nobles the State Auditor. Minnesota currently has two auditors a state auditor and a legislative auditor. It is no wonder people don’t get represented as much they might have without so much finger pointing up on the hill.
The legislative auditor is currently investigating the abuse of
driver data where 88 enforcement personnel were found to have compromised driver data. There is also the MNsure review currently underway where so many red flags
have arisen and insurance watchdog groups have questioned massive fraud. MN DOT has not been compliant with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise for at least the past four years. The Minnesota Crime Task Force has been reported on for mishandling of funds, a lack of record keeping and lacked documentation for
property seized. This after the Metro Gang Strike Force was disbanded after a similar incident.
The solution to the problem is not a review of MNsure but, a full
audit. The solution to public officials and contracted companies behaving
properly is holding people accountable. If you think these entities are being
held accountable to the tax payer then who is going to write us a check. You
wouldn’t buy a car that wouldn’t run right with dealer promises that in 6
months it will get you to work. You wouldn’t let the neighborhood kids run
around and take things without permission. I would bet hard earned money that
you wouldn’t keep a watchdog around that only barks and bites after you have been robbed.
It’s time to shake things up at the capital.
In any organization we tend to have one shining star one personal
best which we hold up for the world to see. This is a simple way to look at the
situation at hand. Minnesota our North Star state should not be concerned with a
single bright example of excellence. There is no good in a single road to be
perfect while all of the others are not fit to travel.
Today our legislators and representatives work from one crisis to
another. This is part of the function to use our community resources to find and
fix a crisis. Why is every issue a crisis then? I believe that the information
contained in our auditors reports are not as information rich as they could be
to aid the executive branch and legislative body move as effectively as they
might otherwise. That is a big statement to make and one I believe is true. Our
state auditor is on our executive council and that is an awful strange place to
put someone without a strategic inkling.
The balanced score card is one where we don’t have a single
shining star. In the balanced score card the overall workings of the
organization is key. The overall effectiveness of an organization works best
without just one single darling of an idea. How well would a hardware store
work if there receiving department was a mess and nothing could get to the
shelves? That hardware store may have the best signage, sales personnel and
might even have the best selection of what you want if you can’t find it in the
isle you can’t take it to the cash register.
As Minnesota State Auditor I will work to ensure that all of the
areas I am in charge of receive a fair portion of my time. I will have a
standard which we judge the effectiveness of our organization by its ability to
meet its goals and once those goals are met I will strive to steadily improve.
If we focus solely on auditing and make it the darling of the position I will
have neglected each of the other functions of the position.
One of the functions of State Auditor is head the Government Information Division.
The Minnesota Data Practices Act guarantees the rights of the public to access data. Public records are defined as all data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by any government entity regardless of its physical form. The law also requires that this information is explained to us if needed. Currently the law does not have a requirement for the timeliness of such requests. The right to information is a cornerstone to the American process. As voters we need actionable and timely information which we can then use to hold our elected leaders responsible for their actions.
As an elected watchdog I will welcome all exchanges of information even ones that are critical of the government. The Better Government Association (BGA) ranked Minnesota #15 in the Nation in a study from 2008. In 2007 the BGA and National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOCI) gave Minnesota an F grade on transparency.
When elected I will use the power of the elected office to respond to requests for information using the Minnesota Data Practices Act, Economic Development Act, and any other applicable laws. I will use the subpoena power of the office to request such information if necessary.
How do we consider ourselves a free nation when our elected
officials pick a path based on monetary assumptions? Probably not what you
would think a State Auditor Candidate would say. I am different. While I was in
support of the US Mission in Iraq I had the opportunity to meet diverse and
unique cultures. I was bold enough to say America is a free country in the
world. I was promptly laughed at. What do a room full of Bosnians, Kenyans,
Ugandans, Scotts and Iraqis have to tell us about freedom? Well for starters
they told me America leads the world in incarcerations. We have more people
behind bars than any other nation per capita. I can start to change that as
Minnesota is a home rule state which means that laws specifically not covered by the state can be covered by local laws. Remember
that the next time you vote for your State Auditor and Sheriff. Constitutionally
elected Sheriffs have taken a different approach to safety over dollars by
implementing diversion programs. These programs benefit the communities by
making a driver whom will not miss a steak dinner or night out by paying a fine
reach a little deeper and find perspective. These are solutions based upon the
experience and honesty of our elected officials who actually work in the field
of law enforcement. I stand with our local law enforcers who make the decision
to sponsor diversion programs. These programs lift an already burdened judicial
branch, provide a good stern lecture to those that need it and allow for the
spirit of cooperation and good will that is lacking with law enforcement today.
As your state’s auditor I will push for the solutions that allow local
jurisdictions to make decision based on what’s right for them. This election
season remember the candidate that stands with the working class and the tax
payer and not the insurance company or the money grabbers. Tell
centralized government their wrong impeding the progress of a new solution to a
Prior to change in State Auditor responsibilities in 1973 the
State Auditor was charged with approving the State’s Executive Branch
Expenditures in Advance. I believe this change is to the detriment of the
public. A strong check and balance system is the backbone to the American
system of government. I believe the position of state auditor is that of the
public’s elected watchdog.
The legislative auditor has stated that the law concerning the
use of the state plane is not clear. While the legislative auditor is appointed
by the legislative audit committee the state auditor is elected by the people.
The legislative auditor audits the state auditor so that position must not be
eliminated. That position is vital to a check and balance system. It should not
be left to the media to report these issues.
There are two mouthpieces the state and legislative auditor.
These two voices should be aligned in an effort to showcase the abuses of
funds. If either of these voices is silent when a case of abuse of public funds
it is easily filtered. Reinstating the check and balances system will keep our
elected officials honest.
A good check and balance system will give the citizens a
responsible party to hold accountable. I will work to put this check and
balance system in place as your auditor. I want to put an end to hearing about
our state assets being used for personal gain because of a loophole. It should
be harder than to say I am meeting so and so here just a few miles from my
campaign or book signing to justify using our property. A proper check and
balance will keep our elected officials from going to a party, football game or
publicity shoot and bending it into something they will say is in the best
interest of the public. It is not enough for only our legislative auditor to
say that a law was broken while our state auditor whose enforcement division
could also be put to use investigating such an incident.
Like most of us who are out trying to make a living. The upcoming state
elections are probably not a priority just yet. Families, enjoying the great
Minnesota get together at the end of summer and getting all of our fall chores
done take most of our fall time. Every election year or special election cycle we
step into a voting booth and make a decision. This year I want you to be informed
about my position. That hour or so that you take out of your busy schedule to
vote is one of the greatest responsibilities a citizen of our great nation can
When I hear the title State Auditor I think of a person
diligently counting receipts and checking fund balances. Making sure your
dollars are in the right place. I also think of a person taking a physical
inventory of the resources the state has in their possession. It seems simple
to look at a member of the state’s executive council in such a manner.
Twenty billion is not a small amount of tax dollars. Total state
spending was over twenty nine billion. Literally hundreds of entities all take
in money from one area or another. Literally tens of thousands of people are
employed by the state and all of them potentially a source of fraud, waste or
abuse. It is impossible for one person to audit all an entire state.
One person cannot physically do it. It takes a team of dedicated
and loyal individuals. The State Auditor is a leader of multiple divisions. The
role of the State Auditor involves auditing, reviewing, investigating, reporting
and educating. The State Auditor also serves on the State Executive Council,
State Board of Investment, Land Exchange Board, Minnesota Housing Finance
Agency, Public Employees Retirement Association, and Rural Finance Authority
Board. All of those roles and responsibilities are very important to the state
The State Auditor is a Constitutional Officer. The Minnesota Constitution says “Oath of office of state officers. Each officer created by this article before entering upon his duties shall take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and of this state and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office to
the best of his judgment and ability.”
The State Auditor also campaigns as a partisan. This means they have an affiliation with a certain political party. Our past elections have included our State Auditor candidates campaigning how non partisan or impartial they are. I question the
responsibility of such a statement when it comes from a member of our state’s
most important boards.
Just got done reading about Senate Omnibus Retirement Bill (1951), authorizing $14.3 million in ongoing aid starting in 2017 to Teachers Retirement Association to fund the merger of the Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association, and $7 million in ongoing aid to the St. Paul Teachers Fund Association, also starting in 2017. Meanwhile the PERA board of trustees voted to increase individual funding and employer funding by 0.25%. Nothing is being done to address the high management fees involved in the administration of PERA which charges 2.4%. As a former FINRA 6 and 63 licensed broker. This is an excessive management fee. 0.5- 2.0% is pretty standard in the retirement and insurance industry. The lower end of the spectrum at 0.5% is typically reserved for fixed investments like government bonds. 2.0% percent is used as the highest allowable. Reducing overall administration and management costs would impact the health of the PERA funds and would not cost the tax payer a dime. When you consider the overall fair market value (FMV) under management is over 15 billion those management fees add up. PERA is currently under-funded by over 5 billion at this time. Instead of spending tax payer money to put a band-aid on why don't we as tax payers demand better management for our public pensioners?