Will there be an audit of state travel expenses? State Representative Bill Kramer is among Republican members of the legislature's audit committee, who've requested a hearing into travel expenses for state elected officials. "If this hearing does lead to a full blown audit, then it's going to be incumbent on the legislature to do something," says Kramer . "They can do all the audits in the world and if they sit in a nice book in a pile, they don't do any good."
Audit committee co-chair, Representative Peter Barca, says hearings usually come after audits are completed. "I'm not quite certain why they approached it in a the manner in which they did," he says.
The GOP members requested the hearing in the wake of an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which revealed that Governor Jim Doyle's office has failed to provide proper receipts for many travel activities, in addition to charging $5200 hundred dollar flight to Ireland, and other expenses.
"You could almost get the idea that he might have been hiding how much money we was spending on his travels," says Kramer, who's introduced a bill to create a database showing all state expenditures of over twenty five dollars. Kramer notes that the legislation has yet to receive a committee hearing from Democratic leaders in the Assembly.
As for the request for a hearing by the audit committee, co-chair Barca says he's "not clear if this is just more of a political statement to try and make some hay, or whether they really want to delve into this topic in a constrictive and methodical manner." Kramer says he wants the hearing to examine travel by lawmakers, executives like the governor, even members of the state Supreme Court.