The job of the State Auditor is to examine the information and report their findings. My opponent’s record has been analyzed and the report is clear, her conflicts of interest have no place in the Auditor’s Office.
Bryd’s Conflicts of Interest
Cindy Byrd is a Republican candidate for State Auditor. She is a current employee of the State Auditor’s office and works in the county audits division.
Attached are screenshots from Cindy Byrd’s official campaign finance report filings with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. This information is available on the Ethics Commission website.
The attachments reflect the numerous donations Byrd has solicited and received from current County government elected officials and employees and one municipal government employee.
Byrd has also publicized endorsements and support from other County government officials. In fact, an endorsement from one County Government elected official – the Wagoner County Clerk – appears on Byrd’s official campaign push card.
Oklahoma has a long and sad history of corruption at the county government level. That’s why state law mandates regular audits of county government by the State Auditor.
By soliciting/accepting donations/endorsements from county elected officials/employees, Byrd is soliciting/accepting donations/endorsements from the very people that are subject to her audits in her current job and, of course, if elected, as state auditor.
This is a gross conflict of interest. It violates every professional standard for independence relating to audits. Even a first-year accounting student knows better, yet Byrd wants to the state’s top accountant as State Auditor?
An auditors independence must be protected, and they should never solicit gifts or donations from the people subject to their audits.
For someone who wants to be the state’s top watchdog to engage in this conduct, especially given the history of county government corruption we have in Oklahoma, is stunning.
Cindy Byrd simply has too many conflicts of interests to be an independent watchdog for the state.
If elected, Charlie will work to enact legislation to prohibit the solicitations of campaign gifts from any agencies or individuals subject to audit by the State Auditor’s Office to avoid conflicts of interest and the compromise of independence.
Hiding travel records
Cindy Byrd is also refusing to release her travel records that are currently being hidden from public view.
Byrd is a current employee of the State Auditor’s office. Byrd announced her campaign for State Auditor in early 2017. For nearly a year she used a state car to travel around the state to do state business. During this same period of time she was also engaged in campaign activities and attending political events.
It is not only unethical under Oklahoma law to use public/taxpayer paid resources in a political campaign, it is also a crime.
Earlier this month, the Auditors office received a FOIA/Open Records request from a private citizen (a Ponca City CPA) requesting Byrd’s travel records.
Records for certain months were produced but other months were withheld without explanation.
If these records show Byrd used her state vehicle to attend campaign events or otherwise engage in campaign activities, then a crime has been committed.
Cindy Byrd needs to clear the record.
As someone who wants to be the state’s Auditor, surely Byrd would have maintained personal copies of her travel records, as any good accountant would.
She should immediately disclose these records. If she did not maintain the records or destroyed them, she needs to ensure that the Auditors office makes them public immediately.
Why is Byrd refusing to disclose these records? What does she have to hide?
Why would a person running for the office designed to ensure transparency in state government be actively engaged in actions to prevent transparency?