Thursday, June 11, 2015

House GOP Caucus Calls for Post Audit, IG Investigation of Patrick’s Use of Trust Funds

The House Republican leadership today filed an Order with the House Clerk and submitted a letter to the Inspector General on behalf of the Caucus calling for an investigation into former Governor Deval Patrick’s use of off-budget trust accounts to subsidize travel junkets and other questionable activities with public dollars from the state’s quasi-independent agencies between 2009 and 2014.

The Order, which was referred to the House Rules Committee this morning, calls upon the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight to investigate the use of these hidden trust accounts, which was first reported on by the Boston Herald yesterday.  The Herald investigation found that tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money was diverted to these accounts, without legislative oversight, to help fund many of the former governor’s overseas trade missions, including the costs of air flights, hotels and transportation.

The Order calls for a detailed accounting of all deposits and expenditures from these accounts, and directs the committee to “make recommendations for implementing appropriate corrective measures to ensure proper oversight and legislative approval of similar trust accounts that utilize public dollars in the future, including regular audits of said accounts”.  The Order requires the committee to file a report on its findings, along with any legislative recommendations, with the Clerk of the House and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee by September 9, 2015.

Also today, the House Republican leadership contacted Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha on behalf of the Caucus to request that his office conduct its own investigation into the matter.  In a letter to Cunha, the House Republican leadership wrote that the Herald’s findings “warrant a thorough investigation by your office to ensure that the Patrick Administration did not circumvent what should always be an open and transparent process when it comes to the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.”  The letter was signed by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Representatives Brad Hill (R-Ipswich), Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleboro), Susan Gifford (R-Wareham), Paul Frost (R-Auburn) and Todd Smola (R-Warren).