Democrat Edelen outlines his proposals for state auditor's office

Kemper says he was first to focus on online transparency

jbrammer@herald-leader.comSeptember 8, 2011 

FRANKFORT — Democrat Adam Edelen outlined steps Wednesday that he said would improve the state auditor's office, which he is seeking in the Nov. 8 election.

The steps focus on more public transparency and saving taxpayers' money.

Edelen, former chief of staff for Gov. Steve Beshear, is running for auditor against Republican John T. Kemper III, a Lexington developer.

Kemper said Edelen was adopting parts of his campaign platform, particularly Kemper's call for more online transparency of the use of tax dollars.

The state auditor monitors how public money is spent and how public agencies function. The current auditor, Democrat Crit Luallen, is finishing her second term and is not allowed to seek re-election because of term limits.

If elected auditor, Edelen said, he would launch an online site called "Taxpayer Dashboard" to give Kentuckians information to help them evaluate how well tax dollars are spent.

He said he developed similar "dashboards" for Lexington residents when he was vice president of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.

Edelen said he would urge Kentuckians to get involved as "citizen auditors" to seek more information about the use of tax dollars and to shine more light on financial waste and fraud.

He plans to use public service announcements to inform the public about the "citizen auditors initiative."

The announcements would not promote him and would not involve tax dollars, said Edelen, expressing hope that media organizations would donate them.

Edelen also said he would:

■ Push for legislation to require local and state agencies to publish all expenses online.

■ Hold an annual statewide conference with local and state government financial administrators to urge more transparency and highlight innovations in their jobs.

■ Update the auditor's Web site by creating a "digital safe house" to ensure the anonymity of whistle-blowers.

People who now want to report suspected fraud and waste in government can email the auditor's office or call its hot line, Edelen said.

By going online, they can securely transmit documents providing proof of the fraud or waste that they are alleging, he said.

■ Set up a system for prioritizing which audits should be conducted.

Annual audits of state and county governments are required by state law, but other responsibilities are up to the auditor's discretion.

Edelen said Luallen "has done a magnificent job in the auditor's office."

"I would just like to institutionalize her policies with a priority list."

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