February 14, 2017

‘At risk’ audit list includes state Department of Homeland Security

Andy Lyman

Tim Keller

The State Auditor released its annual ‘At Risk List’ of public entities that failed to submit their mandated audits on time.

Three state agencies, four counties, four school districts, one college and ten municipalities failed to submit their annual audits. One entity had an audit opinion that found “significant problems with its financial statements” per the State Auditor press release: The Town of Estancia.

State Auditor Tim Keller said in a statement why the list was important.

“The ‘At Risk List’ helps policymakers and the public easily identify which entities are behind schedule or reporting financial information that often isn’t cutting it,” he said. “Audits are the most standardized and useful tool we have to keep an eye on our public funds. Fortunately, over the last few years, we’ve seen a strong reduction in the number of ‘at risk’ governments in most categories.”

The state agencies include the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security. NM Political Report previously reported on a recently-released audit from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. That audit came nearly a year after it was due.

The firm that conducted the audit was unable to offer an opinion on the reliability of the department’s financial records because of insufficient information provided by the department.

Entities that have not filed the required audits are “at risk” because, the State Auditor’s office explained, “their financials have not been examined during the relevant fiscal year(s). If entities receiving public funds are not audited the risks of misstatements or fraud, waste and abuse increase.”

Another state entity, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, has been at the center of scandal and questions.

Investigators with the Attorney General’s office raided the commission’s headquarters early last year.

The last year of Audit Act Compliance by the commission, per the report, was 2013.

One entity, the Cebolleta Land Grant, last complied with the audit requirements in 2016.

The commission then ended the contracts of two paid staffers, including one under investigation by the Attorney General. A stripped-down version of the commission, with just one paid staffer, opened back up in August of last year.