South Dakota panel might add criminal cases to its duties

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — One of its members suggested Thursday the South Dakota Board of Internal Control add government embezzlements and other crimes involving public financial abuses to its scope of review.

The idea came from Monte Kramer. He is system vice president of finance and administration for the state’s public universities and special schools.

Kramer, who is scheduled to retire September 27, told other board members he has learned from looking at individual cases after they’ve been publicly reported.

“I think it would be worthwhile,” Kramer said. 

The Legislature established the board in 2016 at the request of then-Governor Dennis Daugaard and his lieutenant governor, Matt Michels.

It was one of the steps taken by lawmakers and Daugaard’s administration for more transparency in state government.

State Commissioner of Finance and Management Liza Clark currently chairs the seven-member panel. She said the topic of looking at criminal cases would be discussed at the next quarterly meeting.

Mark Quasney is state government’s internal control officer. Quasney told the board his concern was “broadcasting to others a roadmap” of how public agencies could be cheated.

“That’s why we try to avoid talking about specific controls as much as possible,” Quasney said. He said his office could privately tell agencies how other ones dealt with issues.

“The board is a stick, but we don’t want it to be a really big stick,” Quasney said, adding that he wants agencies to be honest in the information they give the board and see its role as “an honest tool to help them get better.”

Clark said cases could be added to the board’s agenda after they become public information. Kramer said it’s worth discussing where the internal controls fell down.

“I assume we can learn from these things,” Kramer said. He added, “I just think we’re missing a piece of this here.” 

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