For Immediate Release - November 18, 2011

Auditor Bumps Follow the Money Bill Signed into Law

New authority allows Auditor to review the state’s third party vendors

BOSTON, MA – As part of the sweeping reforms set in place for her office, State Auditor Suzanne Bump announced today that her “Follow the Money” bill was signed into law by Governor Patrick.  The new law, formally titled An Act Relative to Vendor Contracts, expands the State Auditor’s statutory authority by granting her office the ability to access records of subcontractors to state contracts.

“The passage of this critically important legislation enhances our ability to perform our job as the state’s fiscal watchdog,” said Auditor Bump. “We can now follow taxpayer money all the way until the final dollar is spent.”

The legislation addresses a preexisting gap in the State Auditor’s ability to insure taxpayer money is spent with accountability. Prior to the signing of the “Follow the Money” bill, the State Auditor had authority to audit the millions of dollars in public services contracted to private vendors, but lacked authority to access records of their subcontractors.

“When I took office as State Auditor I began focusing our audit agenda into areas of the State’s budget with the highest risk. Much of that risk dwells in the complex layers of multi-million dollar state contracts and subcontracts,” said Auditor Bump. “I applaud the legislature for acting swiftly on this good government initiative.”

The need for extended authority was further highlighted by the State Auditor’s recent reports on education collaboratives. The Merrimack Special Education Collaborative, in particular, subcontracted a bulk of its work to a related non-profit, and during the course of the Auditor’s investigation, the related nonprofit refused to provide access to necessary records. Despite uncovering rampant misuse of taxpayer dollars, the scope of the audit was limited, and the full extent of misconduct could not be fully assessed.

“I thank the Auditor for her leadership on this important legislation,” said Governor Patrick. “This bill will help the Commonwealth to better safeguard our citizens against fraud and protect our taxpayer dollars from abuse.”

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