State Auditor Wayne Johnson sure likes to go around and tell others how they need to do their jobs, especially any agency involved with the criminal justice system, but he becomes “puzzled” when he is told he is not doing his job himself and not following the law.
On May 23, 2018 New Mexico State Auditor Wayne Johnson with great fanfare announced he would conduct a “special audit” examination of the Bernalillo County criminal justice system.
Johnson’s special audit includes seven state agencies: the District Court, Metro Court, the Albuquerque Police Department, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the Metropolitan Detention Center, the Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office.
Wayne Johnson announced he wanted his office do a “special audit” to look into possible “gaps” within the Second Judicial District and the criminal justice system in an effort to combat crime in the Albuquerque metro area.
On June, 26, 2018 it was announced that State District Court officials were seeking Attorney General Hector Balderas’s opinion on whether the state auditor’s plan to examine Bernalillo County’s justice system “exceeds the authority and power” of the State Auditor’s office.
In the letter to Attorney General Hector Balderas, 2nd District Chief Judge Nan Nash and Court Executive Officer Jim Noel said they believe the state auditor’s plan to examine the system through a series of audits “invites needless waste of tax payer money” and may exceed his authority.
The authority of the State Auditor is to conduct both financial and special financial audits review the financial affairs of government agencies, including contracts, purchases agreements and make sure that the government agencies are not engaged in fraud, waste and abuse of government and taxpayer funds.
The State Auditor does not have any prosecutorial authority and when criminal wrongdoing is found in an audit, it is turned over to the appropriate state or federal prosecuting agency.
Johnson got the bright and very mistaken idea that he has the authority to audit and entire criminal justice system, especially judge’s decisions to deny prosecutor’s efforts to detain people in jail pending trial.
It should not come as any surprise that the 2nd Judicial Court is now questioning Johnson’s authority or is empowered by law to do his special audit in that the audit is not a financial audit dealing with the expenditure of taxpayer money which is all that is allowed by law.
Attorney General Hector Balderas has yet to announce or make know his opinion regarding State Auditor’s authority to conduct an audit of an entire criminal justice system.
BALDERAS TAKES JOHNSON TO TASK ON FAILURE TO COMPLETE AUDIT
June 29, State Auditor Wayne Johnson sent a letter to Attorney General Hector Balderas claiming that the Office of the State Auditor was unable to complete audits of the MLK State Commission from 2014 on because documents required remained in the possession of the Office of the Attorney General.
On July 9, Attorney General Hector Balderas took state Auditor Wayne Johnson to task in a letter for not completing audits of the Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission.
Balderas pointed out the Johnson’s office failed to use digital copies of papers, as well as digital images of desktop files, that were readily available and provided to the new executive director of the MLK State Commission as far back as September 2016, as well as in the possession of the independent accounting firm hired to review the documents by the State Auditor.
Balderas made his position clear to Johnson that by not using electronic files to complete the audits, Johnson was in violation of a number of statutory requirements, as well as accounting and financial reporting standards.
Balderas did not mince words with Johnson when he wrote:
“I am concerned that recent public statements and actions by the [Office of the State Auditor] represent a pattern of failure to uphold these statutory duties and result in the public being misled. … Neither the contracted audit firm, nor the current [Office of the State Auditor] administration reached out to the [Office of the Attorney General] to inquire about documents that were claimed to be unavailable, nor did the state auditor inform the state attorney general about concerns regarding “missing financial documentation from an at-risk agency. … the [Office of State Auditor] has failed to ensure that the MLK Commission has been thoroughly examined and audited, which could assist law enforcement in detecting whether any further malfeasance has occurred.”
Rather than responding to the Attorney General directly and in writing , Johnson issued a pathetic statement to the Albuquerque Journal saying:
“[One of my top priorities is] refusing to allow entities to evade audits for years, and also requiring audits of state entities that for many years have not been required to account for their spending of taxpayer dollars. … It’s puzzling that in one breath, the AG suggests using all options available for the OSA to seek missing documentation, then says those documents have already been provided to the (MLK) Commission”.
Wayne Johnson may be puzzled with the Attorney General Hector Balderas and what he was told in a letter, but what is not at all puzzling to the electorate is that Wayne Johnson has no business being New Mexico State Auditor and he has no idea what he is doing.
Attorney General Hector Balderas is the former New Mexico State Auditor who served with distinction for 8 years.
Balderas, more than anyone, knows full well the powers and authority of the State Auditor’s office, the position Wayne Johnson has now held for a mere 6 months and who wants to be elected to in November.
Hector Balderas has also served with distinction for close to 4 years as the New Mexico Attorney General and in all likely will be reelected come November.
Wayne Johnson now gets into a very public “tit-for-tat” with the very public official that has real power to investigate and indict on criminal charges as well as the individual who could gut Johnson’s special audit of a criminal justice system he vilifies so much so he can get elected.
Perhaps Johnson should learn how to do his job and stop telling others how to do theirs, but then again he will only be able to use such knowledge for a little more than 5 months.