Freeman proposal would have state auditor general examine the legislature’s expenses

 

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced two bills that would require the state’s auditor general to annually audit the General Assembly’s expenses and its legislative services agencies.

Freeman said the legislation is being introduced as both a bill and an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution to address any concerns regarding the constitutionality of having an executive branch office audit the legislature’s finances.

The Northampton County legislator said completed copies of the audits would then be available to the public.

“We need to have greater transparency and more accountability as to how the legislature spends taxpayers’ money,” Freeman said. "An outside, unbiased auditor, such as the state’s auditor general, should be reviewing our expenses and issuing a report instead of a company that we pay to perform an internal audit on ourselves.”

As it now stands, the General Assembly is audited by a certified public accountant hired by the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission.

Freeman said the auditor general recently held a news conference offering his department’s services to leaders of the Senate and House to help increase openness.

“We continually talk of financial transparency, so this is a chance for us to open the books and reveal just how taxpayers’ money is being spent by the legislature,” Freeman said.

After the audits, Freeman’s bills would require copies of all audits to be submitted to the president pro tempore of the Senate, the Senate minority leader, speaker of the House and the minority leader of the House.

The bills H.B. 1257 and H.B. 1258 are expected to be referred to the House State Government Committee for consideration.