Rich Miller just wrote a one-sided hit piece on the forensic audit (click here to read it). I’m posting this to provide clarification and context. The next post will defend the policy.
Miller leads the post with my quote, “Bill Holland is more interested in keeping a friendly relationship rather than rooting out corruption.” Let me add some context. This is from the State Journal Register, Bernie Schoenburg column on Sunday… Holland told him (Andrzejewski) during their meeting that he doesn’t use his subpoena power because it would harm his relationship with agency personnel.
In a meeting this spring, Illinois’ top auditor, Auditor General Bill Holland told me, “I have subpoena power but I do not use it.” When asked why, Holland said, “It would harm the relationship with people that I have to get information from and work with on a daily basis.”
I’ve stated numerous times since, by his own admission, the state’s top auditor places a premium on his relationships with state employees, rather than rooting out corruption. And at a minimum, Holland admits that he’s not fighting graft with all the tools.
The people of Illinois understand the necessity of the forensic audit. As I travel the state, I hear the positive feedback, usually in the context of some personal experience with Illinois’ political class. Furthermore, the idea had a major impact in the November elections. Sen. McCarter, Sen. Sam McCann, Rep. Dwight Kay and Cedra Crenshaw all ran on the issue, with 3 of the 4 winning their races.
All gubernatorial general election candidates – except Gov. Quinn – ran on the forensic audit. ALL candidates (Democrat, Republican, Green) for Cook County Board President ran on the issue. Chicago aldermen have raised the issue in the Mayor’s race.
Bill Holland never questioned the “cost” of the forensic audit of medicaid that passed unanimously during the last legislative session. Sponsored by Sen. Dillard and Rep. Bellock, this large audit passed unanimously in both chambers with no opposition. Covering $13 billion of medicaid spending, the state’s largest expenditure, the audit should save Illinois taxpayers $1.3 billion. The NY Times and the FBI both estimate that any state’s Medicaid fraud is 10% of spending.
Where are the calls for ending the forensic audit of Medicaid based on the weak argument of expense? Criticizing “costs” when auditing Illinois notoriously opaque general spending while ignoring the same argument on the Medicaid audit strikes me as odd. If the forensic/recapture audit is good for Medicaid, why isn’t good for the entire budget?
Other responses to this orchestrated attack on the forensic audit will be forthcoming as needed.