Audit the Legislature

Mass Auditor Diana DiZoglio is running a Ballot Initiative to make the Commonwealth's Legislature let her audit it. As her 2022 Libertarian opponent, I fully support this - and so should you.

The lack of government transparency and accountability is a long standing issue in Massachusetts. An issue that not only plagues the executive branch: The Legislature of the Commonwealth - across both Senate and House of Representatives - is one of the worst offenders. Its reputation is tarnished by a long history of scandals, it has excused itself from both public record as well as open meeting laws, and it has at best a spotty practice on proper procedures and voting. Secrecy, attempts to keep the public in the dark about proposed legislation, rigged hearings, and hidden committee votes are common tactics used. This all has earned it the dubious honor of being one of the least transparent legislatures in the US.

A recent example of the non-transparency and lack of due process in the Massachusetts legislature that some Libertarians may be aware of, can be found in the proceedings around the collection of anti-2nd Amendment measures moving through the House and Senate: The mechanizations documented by the Massachusetts Gun Owners' Action League (GOAL) demonstrate how the leadership in the legislature attempts to prevent public scrutiny and bias the debate.

An important part of the checks and balances for the Massachusetts government is the ability of the Office of the Auditor to conduct audits with broad authority. And after a period of neglect under the previous leadership, we are now seeing a refreshing commitment to transparency and accountability from Diana DiZoglio, elected to the State Auditor's office in 2022. Her office has stepped up to conduct the first audit of the Commonwealth Legislature since 1922(!). She outlined her objective in a statement from her office:  "Taxpayers deserve more - they deserve the opportunity to weigh in on legislative, budgetary and regulatory matters that are important to them. Everyone should have equitable and transparent access to and information about all state-funded agencies, including the Legislature." As Libertarians we obviously agree with this.

The Beacon Hill establishment of course is attempting to prevent this audit and refuses to consent. The AG, Andrea Joy Campbell, unsurprisingly sided with them and even went as far as blocking the Office of the Auditor's attempt to get a court review of the dispute. Finally, most of the Democratic Party establishment in the state appears to also be pushing back against this bid to increase transparency and accountability.

The recourse chosen by the State Auditor is to pursue a clear mandate from the Massachusetts voters via a Ballot Initiative for “a law expressly authorizing the Auditor to audit the Legislature”. This is a bold but promising move that has already won the endorsement of DiZoglio's Republican opponent in the 2022 race, Anthony Amore. As the Libertarian contender for State Auditor in 2022, I concur with Diana DiZoglio and Anthony Amore. The Legislature needs to be audited and should not have the ability to unilaterally block that review.

The initiative needs to collect 12,000 signatures by June 19 to make it onto the Ballot. I am joining that effort and will be collecting signatures to ensure the Ballot question gets in front of the Massachusetts voters this November. The State Committee of the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts endorsed the Ballot initiative in a Resolution adopted on May 8, 2024.  

I call on all Libertarians and everyone who agrees with Diana DiZoglio that “No branch of government, especially the Legislature, should be above the law and exempt from accountability.” to join as well.

You can sign up here to collect signatures.