Massachusetts House Speaker Rejects Legislature Audit
Ronald Mariano said in a letter to Auditor Diana DiZoglio on Friday that the House financial accounts were already public.
BOSTON (AP) — Democratic House Speaker Ronald Mariano said Friday the House will not meet with State Auditor Diana DiZoglio about an audit DiZoglio launched in the Legislative Assembly.
DiZoglio, a Democrat who has served as both a state representative and a senator, described the audit as the first such review in a century of legislature that she hopes will “increase transparency, accountability and equity in an area of state government that has been completely ignored”. .”
Mariano said in a letter to DiZoglio on Friday that the House’s financial accounts were already public.
Any “performance review” by DiZoglio of House actions, including “active and pending legislation, committee appointments, legislative rules and its policies and procedures” would violate fundamental principles of the separation of powers, a- he declared.
Such an assessment is the sole responsibility of the House, he said, adding that voters are the final decision makers on the performance of elected officials.
“Therefore, since your attempt to conduct a performance audit of the House of Representatives exceeds your legal authority and is unconstitutional, your request for a meeting to begin such an audit is respectfully denied,” he wrote.
DiZoglio said the audit was essential, given the amount of legislative work done behind closed doors.
The 200-member legislature is exempt from the state’s open meeting law. Democrats — who hold an overwhelming majority in both houses — regularly hold closed caucuses to discuss legislation away from the ears of the press and public.
“Historically, the Legislative Assembly has been a closed-door operation, where committee votes have been hidden from the general public, and legislation has been passed in the dark of night,” DiZoglio said when she announced auditing.
Democratic Senate Speaker Karen Spilka also cited the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
Under Senate rules, the chamber is audited each fiscal year by an accounting firm experienced in auditing government entities and makes that audit public, she said.
Senate business is also made public through journals, calendars and recordings of each session, Spilka said.