JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State Auditor Shad White met with FBI agents Monday and shared what his office discovered on the DHS embezzlement scheme.
The FBI Jackson field office released this statement:
"The FBI and the State Auditor’s Office continue to have a strong partnership and the collaboration between our agencies is instrumental in protecting Mississippi’s taxpayers. As always, the FBI takes any information about criminal activity seriously, and the information brought to the FBI by Mr. White and his staff will be properly evaluated for any violation of federal law."
The other next step falls in the hands of lawmakers and a request from the auditor to require a full forensic audit of DHS.
“There shouldn’t be push back on it and if there is push back on it, then that is a problem," said Rep. Christopher Bell-D. "We need to be transparent in what we’re doing.”
White says his office can’t do an audit that size any time soon and still handle their normal duties. So, he’s requesting that it be done by a private CPA firm.
That’s something that both Republicans and Democrats agree would be money well spent.
“As a Republican, it’s important to me that the taxpayer’s money be spent properly and if one dollar has been spent inappropriately, then we need to find out and hold those accountable,” explained Sen. Chad McMahan-R.
Other members say the oversight has needed strengthening for a long time.
“It needs to be there," said Rep. Earle Banks-D. "We can’t just sit back and trust some good ole boy system. That’s what has happened in Mississippi’s past and we can’t afford to go back to good ole boy.”
Sen. Brice Wiggins says he’s seen the result of requiring more accountability, introducing legislation after issues with Department of Marine Resources broke in his district in the past.
“In that, we required them to do an audit every year at their own expense," described Wiggins. "And since that time, they have reported the findings. It’s all been good and it’s been a good check on the taxpayer funds.”
The audit request is made to the legislature because it will require an appropriation to cover the cost of the audit.