It is time to move beyond “waste, fraud, and abuse” as an election year talking point. We’ve had a decade of this rallying cry. Let’s set the record straight. Oklahoma law already calls for agency audits at least once every two years (74 O.S. § 212 - OSCN 2018). State law says our Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate can request agency audits at any time. They haven't. Not once in the last eight years.
The sad truth is that “waste, fraud, and abuse” is nothing more than a 10 second sound bite. We've been played.
What's worse, the Legislature created its own "shadow auditor" — the Agency Performance and Accountability Commission. It also performs government audits. They gave it $2 million to hire out-of-state auditors. And they placed it inside the Legislative Service Bureau, where they could control it. What a wasteful duplication of services!
The truth is the State Auditor's office caught the mess at the Health Department through a routine agency audit. They uncovered the mess in the Tourism Department the same way. We have sufficient auditing processes in place. But audits are meaningless without capable leaders. We must have leaders who will know what to do with those audits. Leaders who will make the critical changes needed. Leaders who will work together to get Oklahoma's government working again.
It won't be easy. And it won't be overnight. But it is the job and the responsibility of those we elect to make government work.