What is the true motivation and purpose of the state auditor's probe into the governor's travel and use of state resources?
The governor has full authority to spend the appropriated money within the budget limits we set in the Legislature, and by all accounts he's doing it. There's no law that determines how the governor should set his schedule, and NDDOT policy determines who has priority and authority to use the state airplanes and fleet vehicles.
I don't use this term lightly, but this is clearly a witch hunt.
Is the state auditor upset because the governor has final say on his budget, and vetoed his budget bill because he tried to get rid of an employee in legislation? Is he trying to curry favor with certain legislators to try to get an army of additional FTEs in his budget? Is he upset because the auditor's office historically gets no press and some of the only press he did get was when he applied for the governor's higher education task force but wasn't chosen? Is he angling for name recognition to help him win another office someday?
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a strong believer in the separation of powers and I've been critical of some of the governor's decisions, especially his vetoes. But this witch hunt serves no purpose, literally none.
The governor has full authority to travel, full authority to spend within budgets, full authority to attend meetings, period. So the finding will most likely be the current governor travels more than previous governors or has a much busier schedule.
So what? Don't we want a governor who gets out and meets with people and works closely with the White House?
The witch hunt has the state auditor focusing on the wrong things. He's wasting time on minor issues when we've got bigger fish to fry in state government. Does the state auditor need to approve all travel, all expenses, all meetings, and manage the governor's schedule?
Of course not, so back to the point at hand. It seems to be all about knocking down the governor to lift up the auditor.