Montana Financial Audit Finds Over $1 Billion in Budgeting Errors
Montana administration officials are trying to clean up a big mess after an audit uncovered over 125 errors totaling over $1 billion. The errors were revealed in Montana’s first ever adverse audit report. Montana Independent Legislative Auditor Tori Hunthausen was picked by a bipartisan committee to investigate, and explained what she found.
"When we conducted the audit for FY 2014's financial statements we concluded that there are material misstatements in the information and omissions from the statements that cast doubt on the reliability of the information," Hunthausen said. "We did not determine that these errors are intentional or fraudulent, it's merely carelessness in review and supervision problems."
Many are concerned that the State's bond rating might be downgraded, causing the state to pay more in interest as a result. Hunthausen said that the bond rating agencies have been asking for the paperwork where the errors were found for months.
"The State of Montana has issued general obligation bonds twice since January 2015 and bond council and the underwriters have been in contact with my office, wanting that information, but because it wasn't available, they had to use fiscal year 2013 information, which is now almost two years old," Hunthausen said.
As to the question of whether the errors would change the states bond rating, Hunthausen is hopeful that it won’t, but said "we’ll have to wait and see."