While Moody’s announced that our AA+ bond rating is unlikely to be affected by the Bullock administration’s incompetence and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, they still expressed concern over the weaknesses in the state's ability to properly account for this money.
Last week, it was reported that auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, with many of these errors individually amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
The auditor’s findings mark the first time an adverse report has ever been issued on Montana’s finances. And, these disturbing findings threatened Montana’s fiscal health and could have cost Montana taxpayers millions of dollars.
The Montana Standard Editorial Board wrote, “The overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer."
After nearly a week of silence, Governor Bullock finally commented on this accounting debacle, calling it “unacceptable.”
Yet, the Bullock administration refuses to take responsibility for their high-level of incompetence:
- Bullock’s budget director Dan Villa called these 125 significant accounting errors a “fluke” and “simple.”
- Villa described one of these errors as “three zeros had been left off the figures.”
- Villa said these errors don’t mean tax dollars were misappropriated or hidden, but as the Montana Standard Editorial Board wrote: “Given the nature of the errors in oversight, it is all but impossible to know if Villa is correct in that assertion.”
- As far as we know, no one has been fired over these serious errors.
- Instead, state accountant Julie Feldman who oversaw the department responsible for these significant errors was transferred to work in another department.
Here are a few examples of the Bullock administration’s mismanagement of our tax dollars:
- Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
- Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.
- Incorrectly accounted for hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses.
- Failed to report $62 million in bonds.
- Missed transfers of nearly $48 million.
Leadership starts at the top. Governor Bullock needs to take responsibility, explain in detail how these problems arose in the first place, and lay out concrete steps to make sure this never happens again. We need competent people put in place when managing our tax dollars.
We should all be deeply concerned by the Bullock administration's mismanagement of our taxpayer money, their grievous errors, and their litany of excuses as they attempt to downplay the significance of this accounting disaster. The level of incompetence here is simply outrageous.
Helena, MT – On Saturday, June 26, 2015 delegates to the Montana Republican Party’s Officers’ Nominating Convention elected Jeff Essmann to serve as Chairman of the Montana Republican Party.
“It is truly an honor to be elected as your next Chairman. I am ready to listen and to get to work to advance our cause and elect more Republicans to statewide office,” said Jeff Essmann, Chairman of the Montana Republican Party.
“I want to thank former Chairman Will Deschamps for his selfless service and Dan Happel for his commitment to our party. I look forward to working with them both as we come together to grow the party and build on our success. Now is the time to unite as we work to make 2016 and beyond better for our cause and for Montana.”
“Over the last several weeks I have been listening to Republicans across Montana about how we can grow the party and make our organization stronger. As Chairman, I pledge to be open, honest, and accountable to every member of our party and to listen, communicate, and work with every person who supports our cause. We have a lot of work to do between now and the 2016 elections. The time for action is now and I am ready to get to work.”
As Chairman, Essmann has laid out a series of proposals to help strengthen the Montana Republican Party, including:
- Focusing on candidate recruitment to field credible, principled Republican candidates up-and-down the ballot.
- Making fundraising a priority so the MTGOP has the resources needed to help Republican candidates and organizations.
- Reorganizing MTGOP operations and convening a strategic advisory team to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the MTGOP, solicit advice from across the party, and build an action plan for 2016.
- Establishing a Young Leadership Group of younger Montana Republicans to lead the effort to engage their peers.
- Providing regular and frequent updates to Montana Republicans so they can learn more about the party’s activities and how they can get involved.