- Office of the Attorney General
Media Contact for AG's Office Determines an Audit of the State Legislature Without its Consent is Not Authorized Under Current Law
Molly McGlynn, Deputy Communications Director
BOSTON — Following a comprehensive legal review and analysis, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has responded to State Auditor Diana DiZoglio’s request that the AGO recognize that the State Auditor’s Office has statutory and constitutional authority to audit the Massachusetts State Legislature over its objection, and permit litigation on the issue.
For reasons explained in the letter sent yesterday evening to the State Auditor, the AGO concludes that under current law the State Auditor does not have such authority. The conclusion is supported by the plain language of state law, the history of how that law came to be, judicial interpretation of similar statutory language, and the historical record. The AGO’s full analysis can be found in the letter.
“I believe transparency is a cornerstone of good government, but that transparency must be achieved through methods that are consistent with the law. As the chief law officer of the Commonwealth, it is my office’s role to determine the legal position of the state by looking at the law as it exists on the books today, and evaluating what that law allows, and what it does not. After a thorough review of the statutory text, pertinent Supreme Judicial Court decisions, and relevant history, we have concluded that current law does not allow an audit of the Legislature over its objection,” said AG Campbell.
In September, as part of the AGO’s constitutional role in the Article 48 process, the Office certified 34 ballot petitions, including 31 proposed laws for the November 2024 ballot and 3 proposed constitutional amendments for the November 2026 ballot. One of the certified proposed laws would grant to the State Auditor the authority to audit the Legislature.
The AGO’s analysis of current law announced today does not address the ballot initiative. It is not, and should not be interpreted as, a policy statement by the Attorney General or her Office on that initiative or how it will operate if it is enacted.