The Republican state auditor is “looking into” confidential settlements with laid off state workers that included so-called “hush money” payments, but State Auditor Mary Mosiman says state law prevents her from discussing the details of any audits or special investigations she and her staff may be pursuing.
“There’s pending legislation and until the legislators finalize that, we will not be disclosing too much of where we’re going in our plans for the things that have already taken place,” Mosiman says.
Senate Democrats have voted to ask the auditor to conduct an investigation of the 25 settlements that have been made with laid off state workers over the past three years — settlements which included confidentiality clauses and, in some cases, extra money for the secrecy agreement. State Senator Jack Hatch, the only Democrat running for governor this year, has called for an independent audit, but Hatch says he welcomes the auditor’s apparent investigation.
“We need to follow the money,” Hatch says.
Hatch hopes the auditor reviews the records of all 12 agencies where confidential settlements were generated. Legislators in the House and Senate are discussing a proposal that would give the state auditor authority to charge a fee to the Department of Administrative Services for any investigation of the confidential settlements.