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Incumbent State Auditor's View: With dependable data, Minnesotans free to make local decisions

From the column: "Since I took office, the Office of the State Auditor found more than $4 million in local government fraud and assisted law enforcement in the prosecution of wrongdoers."

Julie Blaha.jpg
Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha
We are part of The Trust Project.

You deserve a state auditor who knows the goal of oversight is to protect your freedom to make decisions in your community. I’ve been doing just that by fighting waste, fraud, and abuse while providing the support, data, and analysis that prevents these problems in the first place.

As auditors do, let’s start with the numbers.

From the column: "Minnesotans want to know that they have an unbiased, qualified watchdog investigating financial scandals when they arise. They want someone who will shine a light on fraud, waste,

Since I took office, the Office of the State Auditor found more than $4 million in local government fraud and assisted law enforcement in the prosecution of wrongdoers.

Proactively, my office prevented more than $549 million in budget errors through our audits. We brought over $23 million in tax increment finance funds into compliance. For the first time in longer than 20 years, we stepped up to take on over $20 billion in new audits of federal funds.

As a member of the State Board of Investment, I helped increase the funds that support public pensions by more than $30 billion. In addition, I led on our work to consider climate risk in our investment decisions to protect these gains long-term.

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This all adds up to an approach focused on building success and trust at the local level, so you and neighbors have a place to make your solutions reality.

My opponent Ryan Wilson’s approach couldn’t be more different. He seems to want to use this office to implement his own political agenda rather than empower you to make your own decisions. My opponent worked as a lawyer for former President Donald Trump’s campaign and brags about getting into a car chase with a 70-year-old election judge in 2020. He even filed a police report on the election judge, though law enforcement determined the judge did nothing illegal. That’s unusual, but what’s dangerous is that my opponent still tells the story to spread misinformation about elections. We cannot have an auditor who harasses public servants to promote a lie.

After my opponent left his medical-device firm, he became the president of his local Federalist Society chapter. The Federalist Society was key in stacking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, ridding women of their constitutional right to an abortion. What does that have to do with the auditor’s office? Because health and human services are a significant part of local government budgets, we need an auditor who understands that health care includes abortion. An auditor pushing an anti-abortion agenda could disrupt local access to reproductive care, particularly for low-income Minnesotans.

After these examples, you won’t be surprised that my opponent has tried to attack me on issues that literally have nothing to do with my office. At first this seemed to be out of ignorance. But even after being informed, he still spent time talking about issues assigned to Minnesota’s Legislative Auditor rather than those handled by the Office of the State Auditor.

Minnesotans can’t afford to have a state auditor attempting to implement a personal, political agenda to take away your power to make local decisions. Instead, I’ll be your auditor committed to protecting your vision for your community.

The writer of this letter is the Republican candidate for Minnesota state auditor. The News Tribune is allowing his rebuttal in the interest of fairness and complete accuracy.

With your support, I’ll work to expand our oversight by increasing our expertise in school audits and by implementing new audit technology. I’ll continue to build our investigations team that’s increasingly in demand by law enforcement. And I will always follow the evidence over politics to make decisions in the best interests of all Minnesotans.

It is an honor to be your partner in improving our communities. You bring the ideas; I’ll bring the data. I love spreadsheets enough for the both of us. Together we will continue to protect the decisions we make close to home. I humbly ask for your vote.

Julie Blaha of Ramsey is the DFL auditor for the state of Minnesota. She wrote this for the News Tribune at the request of the Opinion page.

Related Topics: ELECTION 2022FRAUD
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