Update: Committee Democrats deny Acosta’s UC audit request

Dante Acosta. Dan Watson/The Signal

State Democrats denied Assemblyman Dante Acosta’s request for a forensic audit to look at the mismanagement of funds by the University of California system on Wednesday.

At the beginning of June, Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) said he was determined to locate $175 million in funds not accounted for, which was discovered during the UC’s audit.

No Democrats in the Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted to approve the audit.

“This audit should not be a partisan issue,” Acosta said in a statement to The Signal. “Transparency in government is universal to all voters.”

The UC Office of the President continued to raise tuition and fees for students while failing to provide proof of where the funds went, according to Acosta.

“I did not propose this looking to prove wrongdoing, I proposed it in the hope that we can prove to students, parents, faculty, staff and taxpayers once and for all that no wrongdoing has occurred,” Acosta said.

While the audit was not approved, Acosta said this is the not the end of his efforts regarding the UC funds.

“I’ve made this promise,” he said. “We won’t stop fighting for a look at those books.”

According to Auditor Elaine Howle, she did not find evidence of funds being misused.

“We didn’t see anything nefarious,” Howle said to the legislators Wednesday.

According to Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), chair of the audit committee, multiple factors led to his recommendation to deny the audit request.

“I share Assemblyman Acosta’s concerns and emphasis on transparency and accountability. However, I believe that this request is premature,” Muratsuchi said in a statement to The Signal.

The assemblyman noted the already “extensive findings” by the auditor and said the board of regents in the UC system agreed to follow up on her recommendations.

“Certainly, we may want to answer all questions, but I think here we need to give the UC a chance to exercise, give the regents their constitutional authority and their independence and their right to be able to ensure that they are enforcing transparency and accountability by agreeing to abide by the 33 recommendations of the state auditor,” he said.

An audit would have started a forensic investigation to compare the UC’s transactions with their budget records.

Prior to the request for the forensic audit, Assembly Republicans called for multiple legislative subpoenas.

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