Rob Sand. (RI photo)

The head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office for 15 years and 27 auditing officials from other states are raising concerns about a Senate bill that would limit the Iowa State Auditor’s ability to investigate state agencies.

The Republican who led debate on the bill Tuesday night said it would keep information private that’s not relevant to an audit. The president of the National State Auditors Association says limitations in the bill should be eliminated to protect the auditor’s ability to investigate “waste, fraud and abuse.” State Auditor Rob Sand said the bill guts the ability of the professionals in his office to conduct audits.

“This is the single most pro-corruption bill that has ever come out of the Iowa legislature,” Sand said during a news conference in his statehouse office.

The bill creates a process that lets state agencies refuse to give the state auditor’s office documents and it would forbid the state auditor’s office from going to court to get access to that information. “Any agency could bury any document that they don’t want to be seen in the light of day,” Sand said. “I think that’s dangerous and irresponsible.”

David Walker, the former Comproller General of the United States for Presidents Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes, issued a written statement about the bill. Walker said it “undercuts” the independence of the Iowa State Auditor’s Office and parts of the bill “are inconsistent with Generally Accepted Government Accounting Standards.” Sand says he hopes legislators heed these concerns.

“We have experts from around the country who are saying that this is a terrible idea,” Sand said, “…that we are going to impact the state’s bond rating, that we are going to impact the state’s credit rating, that we could risk losing hundreds of millions of dollars that the federal government provides for services here in Iowa.”

Sand is the only Democrat currently serving in statewide elected office.

Radio Iowa