Michigan House Republicans
Governor’s plan to defund key oversight office frees her administration of accountability
RELEASE|March 14, 2024
Contact: Matt Hall

Office of Auditor General faces $8.3M cut in governor’s proposal

House Republican Leader Matt Hall on Thursday condemned Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to drastically reduce funding for the nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General (OAG), which has exposed incompetence, inefficiency, and fraud in its reviews of state agencies and programs.

Numerous audits by the OAG in recent years have exposed deep-rooted problems and law-breaking in the Whitmer administration. Most notably, a series of five audits, requested by Hall in 2020 and wrapped up in December of last year, helped expose billions of dollars in fraud and improper payments by Whitmer’s Unemployment Insurance Agency during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.1 The OAG even exposed instances where state departments continued to misuse funds even after problems had been found and subsequently ignored.

The governor’s proposed $8.3 million budget cut is being brought under further scrutiny after Auditor General Doug Ringler’s Wednesday morning letter to House and Senate leaders. Ringler explained how the funding reduction would neuter the OAG’s ability to fulfill audit requirements and could even put federal funding at risk. Hall said the governor’s desire to cut resources for the office tasked with exposing problems in state government was not shocking but concerning.

“Gov. Whitmer’s administration has received multiple failing grades from this investigative office throughout her tenure, and to keep her future aspirations intact, she wants to make sure no one is checking her homework,” said Hall, R-Richland Township. “In a budget proposal spending more than $80 billion, this cut appears to be a calculated and intentional attack on the only remaining nonpartisan oversight body. The Legislature must reject the governor’s cuts and fully fund the auditor general’s vital work — shedding sunshine on state government and helping the people of Michigan and their elected representatives know what works and what’s broken.”

In recent years, the OAG also identified unreported deaths in long-term care facilities during Whitmer’s COVID-19 orders,2 found that the Department of Education did not ensure contracted school staff went through the required fingerprinting and criminal background checks,3 uncovered a serious backlog in case investigation at the Department of Civil Rights,4 revealed that the Department of Transportation has been inefficient with both road funding dollars5 and inspections of critical hospital infrastructure,6 and more.

Ringler’s letter to legislative leaders is here.

1 https://audgen.michigan.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/r186031921A-8294.pdf;

2 https://audgen.michigan.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rep.-Johnson-LTC-COVID-19-Auditor-General-Letter-01-12-2022.pdf

3 https://audgen.michigan.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/r313064021-9463.pdf

4 https://audgen.michigan.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/r151020022-8943.pdf

5 https://audgen.michigan.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/r591042522-2369.pdf

6 https://audgen.michigan.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/r591019022-4819.pdf

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