Shorter Mary Mosiman: Not my job to look for fraud

State Auditor Mary Mosiman, who in her previous job stood by and watched other people collect salaries for doing no work, has doubled down on her defense of the status quo in state auditing procedures.

Highlights from Thomas Geyer’s report for the Quad-City Times are after the jump, along with state auditor candidate Jon Neiderbach’s reaction to the incumbent’s “reckless comments.”

Geyer’s article was headlined, “State Auditor one of lesser known races in election.” That’s a shame, because more Iowans should hear about this:

“Most every entity in the state is required to have an annual audit,” Mosiman said. “That audit is not designed to catch fraud, but to ensure that the financial position of the government entities is correctly presented.”

Although some think the office is there to catch fraud, that is not the case, she said.

“In reality, frauds are sometimes caught by annual audit work in simple documents,” Mosiman said. “But mostly, frauds are brought forward by tips by individuals.”

Democratic challenger Jon Neiderbach blasted Mosiman’s “reckless comments”:

Our tax money is at risk until a whistleblower steps forward, it is scary to think how much is being stolen while we wait…and being a whistleblower in Iowa’s smaller towns is really hard. BUT THERE’S MORE: Her comments mean that every potential embezzler now knows they have little to fear from annual audits, making theft more attractive. Think of the impact if the IRS announced its audits weren’t designed to find fraud.

Neiderbach wants the State Auditor’s Office to improve on “grossly inadequate” audits, such as a three-page report on a state agency with a $100 million budget. He told the Quad-City Times,

“Iowans deserve a state auditor who looks beyond just the bookkeeping,” he said. “The auditor should look for efficiency and effectiveness and whether government is working in a businesslike manner. […] The auditor should be digging to see if fraud is being committed.”

There are many ways the auditor could push for efficiencies, Neiderbach said.

“The office has subpoena power,” he said. “That is a clear indication that they expect the auditor to be aggressively digging for opportunities to make government work better.”

I have rarely heard an incumbent sound as complacent as Mosiman. It’s not as if she has a lot to brag about. Under her supervision and that of her predecessor David Vaudt, annual audits failed to uncover lots of irregularities in state agencies, including dozens of secret settlements with former government employees. You would think she would recognize there’s room for improvement.

  • Out of context

    Don’t you think Mosiman’s comments are BADLY taken out of context here?

    You’ve taken “fraud isn’t usually found through audits” and twisted to say “it’s not my job to find fraud”

    Wow.

    • what she said

      “Although some think the office is there to catch fraud, that is not the case.” She doesn’t see that as her role. She made similar comments during last week’s radio debate.

      • Mosiman

        Ah, I see….

        It still seems like a whole lot of nothing. How could an audit not discover fraud? And how would an embezzler feel safer based on her comments, as Neiderbach claims. It’s nonsense.

        • you tell me

          how so many state audits failed to uncover so much mismanagement at state agencies. Mosiman/Vaudt being CPAs didn’t help on that front.

          • Context Matters

            Mary wasn’t implying she doesn’t look for fraud. She was stating that the role of the auditor is about getting the books straight. The majority of her office’s work is about ensuring due diligence in reporting. Fraud is a lesser part of that. She was stating that the routine work and processes are greatly important. An Auditor who’s primary duty is to seek out and find fraud is as ridiculous as thinking the Secretary of States primary duty is to go on a witch hunt for voter fraud.  

            • her office is not doing its job

              How could dozens of secret payments to fired workers go undetected for years if these audits were serving their purpose?

              I can’t believe so many Republicans defend Mosiman when she sat there and did nothing while her senior colleague collected months of salary sitting at home. That alone disqualifies her from serving as a real watchdog.

              • ;)

                I think that Mary Mosiman had about as much chance at your vote as Anderson had with mine. I’ll fight about what’s in the ether during the primaries but come November I agree with John Deeth; Party lever.  I do know and really like Mary. If she was a Democrat I would probably overcome my political  predisposition and vote for her. But if she was a Democrat I probably wouldn’t know her that well.  

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