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State employees should have to comply with audits

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Montana is considering legislation that would tighten the rules for the auditing process — including penalties for state employees that do not comply with audits.

This proposal stems from frustration on behalf of the Legislative Audit Division of state government that is attached to Montana’s Legislature. Legislative Audit Division employees are tasked with performing a variety of audits to ensure the state’s programming is running and budgeting is being spent according to the will of the lawmakers. These audits include both financial reviews as well as performance reviews.

In the past decade, the Legislative Audit Division has run into roadblocks with their requests either getting delayed or outright ignored which delays the legally required audit process. At this point, the Montana Audit Act does not have penalties for state employees or departments that refuse to comply with the process.

LC 4126 would introduce penalties in order to incentivise state employees and departments to comply with the audits. If an elected or appointed official ignores or delays the audit, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. Additionally, the law would make materials under review confidential until after the audit has been released — something that has been understood by not outrightly confirmed.

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