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Daugaard: Reports Have Been 'Very Thorough'

January 30, 2014, 6:00 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Daugaard: Reports Have Been 'Very Thorough'
WATERTOWN, SD -

The Governor's Office of Economic Development needs to improve its procedures for travel reimbursement.

That was one of the main areas of concern discovered in two reports released Thursday after questions were raised last fall about alleged financial misconduct in the office.   

"I'm very pleased they found no incidents of wrongdoing. No indication of wrongdoing beyond that which the Attorney General's report had already identified," South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard said about the reports.

In November it was revealed that former Secretary of State Development and Tourism, Richard Benda, double dipped on some travel expenses to the tune of almost $6,000. The South Dakota Attorney General's Office also discovered that Benda improperly redirected half a million dollars of a state grant. Benda committed suicide in October.

The examination conducted by accounting firm Eide Bailly was released Thursday and calls for tighter procedures when it comes to travel reimbursement. It also recommends more strict documentation on state grants.

"That's what we should always be looking at, how can we improve our situation so that to the extent there's an opportunity for mistakes or wrongdoing we avoid and minimize that to every extent possible," Daugaard said.

The reports that have been released are simply an analysis of the check and balances in the office. The state is still waiting on the results of a review of the finances being conducted by the Department of Legislative Audit.

Some lawmakers say the investigation doesn't go deep enough.

"While they hardly qualify as independent audits, since they were framed and ordered by the administration itself, they do provide additional insight into the way economic development operates in South Dakota," House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff (D) Yankton said in a statement.

"I believe it's been very thorough. If the legislature looks at it and feels more should be done I'm sure open to that," Daugaard said.

The reports released Thursday cost the state more than $47,000.

The audit from the Department of Legislative Audit should be released in a few weeks.

Legislative leaders from both parties filed a joint resolution Thursday to hold hearings on the issue.

GOED Reports.pdf

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