UC funding requires forensic audit, Acosta says

Assemblyman Dante Acosta speaks about this new bill that would support foster children at a press conference at College of the Canyons on Friday, May 12, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

In an ongoing effort to determine whether $175 million was mishandled unlawfully by the University of California system, Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) joined his colleagues to request a forensic audit.

State legislators with the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, which Acosta is a member of, alongside the Higher Education Committee and the Budget Subcommittee, met with UC President Janet Napolitano and state auditor Elaine Howle on May 2 and requested a subpoena to find where the money from an undisclosed fund was spent.

Since then, Speaker Assemblyman Anthony Rendon has refused to authorize the subpoena unless he sees there was criminal activity, leading to the pursuit for the forensic audit, Acosta’s office said.

“In pursuing this forensic audit, I want to ensure accountability and transparency so that students who pay growing tuition and take out large loans to pay for their education have confidence their money is being used wisely,” Acosta said in a statement.

Asking for the audit is not a means of getting Napolitano to step down from her job, but a means of obtaining data to rebuild institutional trust, according to Acosta’s office.

“There is no question that the UC System provides a world class education. However, the audit clearly reveals a pattern of obstruction and deception isolated within the Office of the President,” Acosta said.

Through the process being requested, Howle will conduct a new audit that itemizes how all the UC’s money was spent per transaction.

Typically, Acosta’s office said, audits look at records from the start. Instead of providing documentation, Napolitano said if something was on the budget, was how it was spent, the office said.

Additionally, UC administrators provided records for just $10.4 million of $35.8 million for lodging, meals and entertainment, Acosta’s office cited.


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