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Richardson: Audits find $106 million in questionable spending


Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson released a statement Wednesday documenting approximately $106.2 million in questionable spending by four state agencies from Jan. 2, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

One audit that contributed to this result was the Audits Division’s report on improper Medicaid payments. Auditors estimated that the agency unnecessarily paid nearly $74 million, including duplicate payments and payments for ineligible Medicaid clients.

“When I came to this office, I promised to increase transparency, accountability and integrity in Oregon government,” Richardson said in a news release. “Identifying $106.2 million in questionable spending of tax dollars helps fulfill that promise.

“I’m proud of the Audits team not only for identifying questioned costs and savings, but also for their important role in providing increased transparency regarding how state government programs are working and identifying and recommending improvements in program efficiency and effectiveness that will prevent wasteful spending going forward.”

The Audits Division has consistently identified more in revenue enhancements, savings, and questioned costs than the audits themselves have cost, he said. While this measure does fluctuate over time, the 2017-18 fiscal year was an especially successful return on audit investment. This equates to $14 in questioned costs uncovered for every $1 spent conducting the audits.

Since June, another example of the division’s exceptional work was uncovering $641,835 of dubious lease payments made by the Oregon Department of Energy. ODOE paid rental charges defaulted on by a now-defunct solar power company that had also been given loans through the Small-Scale Energy Loan Program that they could not pay back.

The Audits Division anticipates the identification of additional questioned costs, savings, and revenue enhancements from audits currently underway.

The Audit Plan for next year will include audits explicitly focused on cost savings and increased efficiency. Also planned is the establishment of a full-time Medicaid audit team, which is anticipated to have high returns on investment.

“Oregonians should have trust that the state is spending their hard-earned tax dollars efficiently, appropriately, and for the good of their communities,” said Richardson. “This is personal to every taxpayer, and it’s personal to us in the Secretary of State’s office. We will continue working tirelessly to ensure transparency, efficiency, and accountability to Oregon taxpayers.”

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