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Why Tammy Duckworth is so riled about new pro-Joe Walsh SuperPAC ad

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Click here for the video: NONPAC_BetterOff05.mp4

Besides having Rod Blagojevich's mug appearing behind hers in a new attack ad, Tammy Duckworth's campaign has other beefs with a new TV spot that accuses her of misusing $4 million in her days with the department of veterans affairs in Illinois. Duckworth's people say that's inaccurate and that the $4 million the ad refers to was a "pass through" grant.

The new ad by a pro-Joe WalshSuperPAC says it is referencing an audit of the state department under Duckworth. That audit, released in 2008, does say that the department "did not exercise adequate control over its travel expenditures," as well as raise questions about how employees took days off, punched in or took leaves. In those report "findings," the department responds saying it would put changes in place or that it was already changing things.


The contentiousness is reaching a high note as we inch closer to the Nov. 6 election in what is one of the most watched congressional races in the country. Nationally, Democrats think Walsh's 8th Congressional seat is the most ripe for taking in a state where the map was drastically redrawn to favor the Democrats. Just last week however, two SuperPACS revealed more than $1 million in ad buys for Walsh and the Republican National Committee said it would devote another $450,000-plus.

Both Duckworth's campaign and the SuperPAC, Now or Never, were ready with their take on the commercial.

Here is Duckworth's fact check on it:
Here is Narrator: "As a Blago appointee, an audit found Duckworth was guilty of misusing or misreporting $4 million of taxpayer money." GFX: Tammy Duckworth: Blagojevich Appointee, Guilty of Misreporting Taxpayer Money. Office of the Auditor General
FACT: IDVA Did Not "Misuse" $4 Million in Taxpayer Money. According to the Illinois Auditor General's FY 2006-FY 2008 audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the auditors found that "The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs did not report certain
financial information to the Office of the Comptroller through the financial reporting process. During FY 2008 the Department received a pass through grant with the Capital Development Board of $4,383,464 for expenditures incurred for the construction improvements to the Department's LaSalle Veterans' Home in accordance with the State Homes Construction Program. However, the Department failed to report this amount from the federal government in its FY 08 Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) package for the General Revenue (001) Fund." At no point does the audit state or in any way suggest the funds were misused, but rather that the grant was "inadvertently omitted" from a report prepared by staff member who had not previously competed the reporting process. [Illinois Auditor General, DVA FY 08 Full Report, accessed 9/30/12]


Here's the SuperPAC's take

Claim: Tammy Duckworth was an appointee of Governor Blagojevich, and an audit found that Tammy Duckworth was guilty of misusing or misreporting $4 million of taxpayer funds.

Fact: Tammy Duckworth was appointed by former Governor Rod Blagojevich, and was the Executive Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs during the period of time in which an audit was conducted by the Illinois Office of the Auditor General. The audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs uncovered that more than $4 million in taxpayer funds had been misused or improperly reported.

Sources:
1. Tammy Duckworth was appointed to be the Executive Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich: http://www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=3&RecNum=5542

2. Tammy Duckworth was the Executive Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs from 12/15/06 - 2/6/09, and she was the Executive Director during the period in which the Illinois Office of the Auditor General conducted an audit: http://www.auditor.illinois.gov/Audit-Reports/Compliance-Agency-List/DVA/FY08-DVA-Comp-full.pdf. Pages 1 and 77.

3. The Illinois Office of the Auditor General found more than $4 million in misused or misreported funds in an audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs while Tammy Duckworth was the Executive Director of the Department: http://www.auditor.illinois.gov/Audit-Reports/Compliance-Agency-List/DVA/FY08-DVA-Comp-full.pdf. Pages 11 - 43.

4. The Illinois Office of the Auditor General states on Page 7 of their audit that "The management of State of Illinois, Department of Veterans' Affairs - Central Office is responsible for compliance with these requirements." http://www.auditor.illinois.gov/Audit-Reports/Compliance-Agency-List/DVA/FY08-DVA-Comp-full.pdf Page 7.

5. Therefore, Tammy Duckworth was the Executive Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, appointed by Gov. Blagojevich, during the period of time in which Illinois Office of the Auditor General found more than $4 million in misused or misreported funds. Further, the Illinois Office of the Auditor General expressed in their audit that it is the responsibility of the Management of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Central Office to comply with the regulations which were found deficient in the audit. As the Executive Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Tammy Duckworth was the manager for the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, and therefore she was responsible for the deficiencies found in the audit.

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This article needs some expansion. It is incomplete as written and does not go far enough.

That 2008 audit report states there are SIXTEEN major areas involving management and financial control issues that it describes as "Significant Deficiency and Noncompliance" or "Material Weakness and Material Noncompliance." Auditors do not use those terms lightly. Five of those are repeat findings from prior audits, so management had already been on notice.

During the two-year scope of the audit report as of June 30, 2008, Duckworth was Director, meaning in full charge, of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs except for the FIRST six months. She did not bother to attend the "exit conference" on January 22, 2009 where the auditors reviewed their findings with other management.

For more details about the audit and other issues see http://theduckworthreport.com

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