The Democrat who’s running for state auditor says if he’s elected, he’ll significantly increase the number of audits which check the performance of state agencies.

Jon Murphy, the Democrat who is challenging Republican State Auditor Dave Vaudt, says Vaudt’s staff has posted more than 7000 audits on the internet, but only 33 are “performance audits.”

“A performance audit is different from a financial audit in that it helps a government or any entity find out more about whether or not the programs they’re been funding have been successful in reaching their goals,” Murphy says.  “So it’s more of a measure of whether or not the return on investment is being reached.” 

According to Murphy, performance audits can provide information about which programs work and which don’t. “During a time of economic, revenue declines, we need to make sure we’re funding programs that work and not put good money after bad,” he says. 

Murphy was nominated to run for state auditor at the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention in June.  He has pledged to give Iowans on-line access to detailed state spending plans if he’s elected to the post.  Murphy would fashion it after the website which tracks the federal “stimulus” money the state has received.

“If you go there right now you can see $2.4 billion being tracked and how many jobs have been created, the return on investment people are getting for their dollars, and I want to replicate that across…state government,” Murphy says.

Murphy has also promised not to endorse any political candidates if he’s elected state auditor, in contrast to State Auditor Vaudt who endorsed gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad and has been campaigning with Branstad this summer. “The auditor needs to impartial, independent and objective in conducting his job,” Murphy says. “I think being on a three-week political tour really does harm to the integrity of the state auditor’s office.” 

Vaudt, the current state auditor, endorsed Branstad in May and has been on a “truth in budgeting” tour with Branstad this month.