Some governments move off unauditable list

Jan 21, 2020

In response to legislative interest in addressing unauditable governments, the State Auditor's Office recently updated the status of this small group of noncompliant districts.

In May 2019, SAO released a Guide to Unauditable Governments, highlighting a small number of local governments that do not file their annual financial report or allow themselves to be audited – both of which are legally required by law. At the time, about 40 governments – almost all small special purpose districts – were determined “unauditable.”

After publication of the guide, State Auditor Pat McCarthy, SAO staff and others met with legislative leaders to discuss the issue. This Friday, the House Local Government Committee held a work session on the issues raised by SAO's report and media reports on fraud and lack of accountability in unauditable districts.

SAO updated legislators on the status of the unauditable governments, using a new interactive infographic, which can be found here (or as a printable pdf here). You can watch the TVW video recording here.

Among the updates:

  • Three governments have submitted their financial documents and been audited, removing them from the unauditable list. Among them was the only non-special-purpose-district government on the list.
  • Several more governments have contacted SAO, filed their financial reports, or are being audited now. Details on each are provided in the new report.
  • Two governments – King County Drainage District No. 5 and Skagit County Dike District No. 19 – were issued Reports on Unauditable Governments and referred to the Attorney General's Office for possible legal action.

“The good news is most governments do the right thing by providing their financial information and being audited regularly. However, there is a small group that has not met their legal requirements to be transparent and accountable, and it is my goal to bring every one of those governments into compliance,” Auditor McCarthy says in the report.

You can see the up-to-date listing of unauditable governments and learn what you can do in the new report.

Map showing number of unauditable governments by county

[linked screen shot of Infogram]