Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Harris: Baseless attacks on nonpartisan auditor undermine bipartisan oversight
RELEASE|April 10, 2024
Contact: Mike Harris

State Rep. Mike Harris on Wednesday expressed his dismay at partisan attacks against Michigan’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG), the nonpartisan office that helps legislators from both parties hold state government accountable to the people of Michigan.

Democrat officials and operatives are criticizing Auditor General Doug Ringler for doing his job and working with legislators to help them get accurate information about state government agencies. The coordinated attacks come after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recommended a net $8.3 million (28%) cut to OAG funding in her annual budget proposal, which Ringler noted would impair oversight and could jeopardize billions of dollars in federal funding. The OAG’s nonpartisan audits have repeatedly exposed failures in the Whitmer administration.

“The auditor general and his team expertly review the workings of state agencies, flag problems, and get answers for Michiganders and their representatives in the Legislature, and they regularly work with legislators from both sides of the aisle to spearhead these watchdog efforts,” said Harris, R-Waterford. “Some partisans who don’t seem interested in holding the governor’s administration accountable have started attacking the auditor general for doing his job. Both parties should want government to work for the people of our state, but baseless attacks on nonpartisan auditing inhibits the bipartisan oversight Michiganders deserve.”

Some Democrats are attempting to smear Ringler because he provided routine feedback to a legislator who asked for his assistance finetuning a request for an audit into procedures at Michigan’s Bureau of Elections (BOE). The auditor general often works with lawmakers from both parties prior to submission of a formal audit request, and his work has received praise from both sides of the aisle. Even Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, praised the OAG’s professionalism and accuracy in conducting the BOE audit.

Even as Democrats attack the auditor general’s nonpartisan oversight work, Democrat lawmakers have sidestepped their oversight responsibilities and declined to examine glaring failures in the administration. The House Ethics and Oversight Committee has held only 10 hearings in 15 months of Democrat control — only four of which, at most, pertained to specific, substantive issues in state government.

“As legislators represent the people of Michigan, it’s our duty to oversee state agencies to ensure they follow the law and use taxpayer dollars efficiently,” Harris said. “Unfortunately, the House is neglecting its oversight duties. Instead of doing real oversight work and holding bureaucrats accountable, some politicians would rather go after the nonpartisan auditor general and undermine indispensable oversight.”

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