Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
E-Mail: Enter 'Beacon' in subject box. Send to: Minnekota@Referencedesk.org
Inquiries into Gov. Rounds' use of money from state accounts to buy airplanes has produced the intention to audit state accounts and determine what authority it takes to transfer and spend money from those accounts. The reports raised by the inquiries into the choo-choo-plane finagling answered no questions about the integrity with which state money is handled, but they posed many new ones. Legislators have announced that they will require an audit of all state accounts and determine who will be given authority to mess around with them.
When Dick Butler was state treasurer, Bill Janklow and company refused to reveal to him any information about some state accounts. They denied him authority to know what they were, where they were, and how much was in them. When Butler, claiming that citizens had the right to know what its government was doing, pushed to get information on the accounts, Janklow with Mike Rounds managed to rush a gag law through the legislature. Butler and others in state government suspected that the executive branch and some banking corporations were playing shell games with money coming into the state. Some state officials attempted to launch investigations. The gag law made it a criminal offense for any state official to reveal any information about such investigations.
The secret accounts were never made known. Dick Butler was cowed into submission. The press was also cowed into silence. And the people have never known what kind of shenanigans the boys in Pierre have indulged in with money that is rightfully theirs.
Will the people finally find out how much money is in state accounts and where it is squirreled away? Probably on the same day that the state thinks negotiations over the sale of state-owned rail lines should be made a matter of open government.