Freeman bill would require auditor general to examine legislature's expenses

 State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, is urging the legislature to take up legislation he has introduced (H.B. 1257) which would require the Pennsylvania auditor general to audit the financial affairs of the General Assembly and its legislative service agencies.

“In light of recent revelations regarding settlements being paid out, my legislation is very timely,” Freeman said. “I think it is in the best interest of the people of Pennsylvania that we have greater transparency and more accountability as to how the legislature spends taxpayers’ money.”

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

Freeman said that under his bill, the auditor general would be required to perform annual audits of the legislature’s finances and would be permitted to perform special audits if deemed necessary as well. Copies of the audits would be provided to the president pro tempore of the Senate, minority leader of the Senate, speaker of the House and minority leader of the House.

“We continually talk of the need for greater financial transparency in government, 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.

Freeman said the completed copies of the audits would then be available to the public.

Freeman introduced H.B. 1257 in April and has introduced it in previous sessions as well.