Another Audit Shows More Failures During the O’Malley Administration
Maryland economic development programs relied too much on information provided by companies getting state benefits and too little on rigorous documentation, according to a highly critical audit released Monday.
Legislative auditors found 11 categories of lapses during their examination of the state Department of Business and Economic Development, which was renamed the Department of Commerce by Gov. Larry Hogan as of Oct. 1.
Thomas J. Barnickle III, the General Assembly’s chief auditor, said many of the conclusions in the audit came down to a matter of “trust but verify” — the adage popularized by President Ronald Reagan to explain his approach to nuclear arms agreements with the Soviet Union.
“We’re saying you need to do a better job verifying that information,” Barnickle said.
The findings covered the period between November 2010 and June 2014, when Martin O’Malley was governor. Barnickle said none of the findings involved corruption or verifiable waste of state funds but did highlight flaws in record-keeping and a failure to adopt written procedures.
Also included was this gem:
In addition to the auction, the auditors focused on the One Maryland Tax Credit Program, which is intended to spur job creation in economically depressed areas such as Baltimore and Western Maryland. They found the department couldn’t verify that the companies had hired all the workers needed to receive tax credits within the time allotted.
The report said that nine companies were given credit for creating 473 jobs, but that 427 of the hires did not take place within the time spelled out in the rules. Many, it said, were hired before the tax credits were awarded.
This, of course, would be infuriating except for the fact that Red Maryland was reporting on the failure to monitor the One Maryland Tax Credit program almost four years ago. And remember, this is the just the latest in a series of Legislative Audits that we have chronicled over the years showing mismanagement and lack of accountability by Martin O’Malley and his administration, including a lack of accountability for the state’s speed camera vendors, chronic cronyism and violations of state procurement laws at the State Highway Administration, failure of the state education department to conduct background checks for child care workers, failure of the state labor department to inspect elevators, millions in lost and overpaid funds at the Developmental Disabilities Administration, failure to monitor for instances of contraband at the Baltimore Prison.
The real disconcerting part this, of course, remains what we didn’t find out. The things that the Legislative Audits and other external reviews didn’t catch. You’re familiar names like Doracon and KO Public Affairs, companies that were long time supporters of O’Malley and the Democrats who always seemed to manage to get enough at the government trough. What kind of shenanigans did the O’Malley Administration engage in to help those companies, and their other cronyist allies who believed that the state government was merely a mechanism for wealth transfer from taxpayers to Democratic donors.
Fortunately, we competent leaders running the Executive Branch, we have the opportunity to see these problems fixed so that we can end the Democrats culture of corruption in Annapolis for good.