DFL Gov. Candidate Racking Up Legal Fees for State

State Auditor and 2018 DFL gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto will make good on her promise to push her appeal on the constitutionality of a 2015 law to the Supreme Court.

Otto, Rebecca Otto
Credit: rebeccaotto.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. – State Auditor and 2018 DFL gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto will make good on her promise to push her appeal on the constitutionality of a 2015 law to the Supreme Court.

In May Alpha News reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the right of Minnesota counties to use private auditors for financial reviews, rather than having to go through Otto’s office. Prior to the passage of the 2015 law, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, counties were required to have the state auditor’s office conduct their financial reviews. Since the law’s passage, several counties have decided to switch to private auditors. Otto argues this deprives her office of necessary income and removes many of the functions of her office.

The appeals court’s decision hinged on the law merely giving counties the option to conduct their audits through private firms, and that it did not in fact reduce the powers of the State Auditor’s office.

Otto, in so long as she remains Minnesota’s state auditor, still holds the power to set standards for county audits, ensure compliance with those standards, require additional information from private firms that audit counties, make “additional examinations as she determines to be in the public interest,” as well as visit counties to inspect their records without the need to give prior notice.

At the decision’s announcement, Otto had already decided she would pursue an appeal to the Minnesota State Supreme Court.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports Otto will file her petition to the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The State Supreme Court would have to agree to take the case, and then of course Otto would have to win the decision once there. If the court refuses to hear the case, the Appeals Court’s decision would stand as is.

At the conclusion of the Court of Appeals case, Otto had already racked up considerable legal fees. This, coupled with her intent to appeal, drew the ire of other Minnesota politicians.

“Auditor Rebecca Otto has already wasted over $250,000 of taxpayer dollars on these politically motivated lawsuits,” House State Government Finance Committee Chairwoman Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) wrote in a statement at the time. “Any further appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court would serve no purpose other than to waste taxpayer dollars to promote the Auditor’s gubernatorial bid.”