Watch CBS News

Diana DiZoglio's quest to audit Massachusetts legislature headed to November ballot

Former state auditor pushes back on quest to audit Massachusetts legislature
Former state auditor pushes back on quest to audit Massachusetts legislature 02:45

BOSTON - The state auditor's quest to audit the Massachusetts Legislature is headed for the November ballot.

Diana DiZoglio hopes voters will empower her by approving the initiative petition. "We know that we have one of the least transparent state legislatures in the entire nation, not subject to public records laws, not subject to open meeting laws," said DiZoglio in a WBZ interview. "Folks are fed up with excuses and they're ready for change."

DiZoglio's pitch for more extensive power to audit the legislature's inner working taps into suspicion of Beacon Hill. And her predecessor, fellow Democrat Suzanne Bump, says "I wouldn't dispute any of it."

Former state auditor pushes back  

But Bump is pushing back on the petition, telling WBZ that while you may not like the way they play the game up there, changing the rules is not the auditor's job. "The auditor's role is to understand whether agencies are following the rules," she says. "Subjective value judgements have no place in an audit."

Responds DiZoglio: "The former auditor was welcome to her opinion. She did what she wanted to do when she was the state auditor. I campaigned on a platform of bringing the work of the auditor's office to the next level and opening up Beacon Hill, and the voters decided to support that platform."

Diana DiZoglio
Massachusetts State Auditor Diana DiZoglio CBS Boston

DiZoglio claims the ongoing public disclosure of the legislature's spending by the comptroller's office is not enough, and foot-dragging by its leaders is political malfeasance. "When the legislative leadership team resists an audit by our office, they are not resisting me personally or anyone that works in my office, who they are resisting and denying access to, it's everybody right at home, you the taxpayer," DiZoglio said.

"This is pure politics," Bump said. "It's a shame. If anybody thinks that you are going to be using information they provide to make your own political objective, then of course they're going to drag their feet and they're not going to be cooperative, that's just human nature."

Where is the petition headed?

Judging from recent polling the auditor's petition has a lot of support. Where is it headed?

To the courts, if it does pass, and keep in mind Attorney General Andrea Campbell has already said DiZoglio is overstepping her legal authority. But this vote will be a measure of local political unrest.

No wonder it is being eagerly backed by leading Republicans and GOP donors, among others.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.