New report finds areas of concern with police use of civil asset forfeiture in Washington

Law enforcement officers can seize property they believe has been involved in or is the proceeds of a crime through a legal tool called civil asset forfeiture. The process does not require an arrest, charge or criminal conviction of the property’s owner. 

In a new report, the first of its kind in the state, the Office of the Washington State Auditor described how civil asset forfeiture works, based on an analysis of data and practices at eight law enforcement agencies.  

Pierce County Superior Court Clerk’s Office lacked financial controls, safeguards for trust accounts, audit finds

An audit released today by the Office of the Washington State Auditor revealed a significant lack of controls over financial operations in the Pierce County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, including taking no action to pay out several large accounts held in trust.

“Simply put, the results of this audit are a cause for serious concern. The financial operations of the clerk’s office have a direct impact on those who trust in our court system to resolve their legal issues and handle funds attentively,” said State Auditor Pat McCarthy.

Housing authority still without adequate financial controls, audit finds

The Pierce County Housing Authority needs to prioritize better financial controls to reduce the risk of another loss of public funds, the Office of the Washington State Auditor concluded in a report published Thursday.

“It’s time to make strong financial controls the Pierce County Housing Authority’s highest priority. Without them, the risk of a loss of public funds is too high,” said State Auditor Pat McCarthy.

Audit timeliness is a team effort post-pandemic

Government offices at all levels experienced upheaval during the COVID-19 pandemic, with added complexity and disrupted timelines for all kinds of work. The scale of federal grant money to be managed – and then audited – was unprecedented. In this blog post, the Office of the Washington State Auditor explains how the increased number and size of federal grants to be audited has affected local governments’ federal single audits.