OpenTheBooks.com reports at Real Clear Policy, “It’s been 21 months since we asked California to do what 49 other states, the federal government, and hundreds of America’s largest cities do: produce a line-by-line state checkbook of its spending.”
“State Controller, Betty Yee’s office issued 49 million checks in payments totaling $320 billion in 2018 in her capacity as ‘chief fiscal officer’ for the state whose economy is the fifth-largest in the entire world,” Epoch Times reported. The state’s 2020 budget was $208.9 billion, but Yee’s office payments often cover multiple-year obligations.”
Other than OpenTheBooks.com at Real Clear Policy and Epoch Times, no California news services have picked up this alarming story as of 4:30pm PST this afternoon – not the Sacramento Bee, not the Los Angeles Times, not Politico.
The Globe learned of this story from a friend in Florida. Could it be a little too uncomfortable for California media with Betty Yee just getting elected Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party for a four year term?
Open the Books Chairman Adam Andrzejewski, writing at RCP, explains in detail:
“California Controller Betty Yee denied the request from our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com for its spending records, claiming she could not ‘locate’ the records.”
So we sued the State of California to get the records that are legally required to be made available to anyone who requests them.
Our initial request on Aug. 23, 2019 was ignored, and follow-up letters in October and November were finally acknowledged – 11 weeks after the first request, a violation of state open records law.
Our request was later denied, with Yee saying that they were “unable to locate” the evidence of payments that her office made and that it did not track payments that went through other state offices.
In 2018, Yee’s office paid 49 million bills totaling $320 billion in payments. While she made the payments, she claims she cannot track the payments.
Epoch Times had more:
OpenTheBooks.com is represented in the suit by the Cause of Action Institute, a public interest law firm that litigates on behalf of government accountability and individual liberty.
“Despite repeated attempts to obtain an adequate response from the Controller, Plaintiffs have instead faced at various points delay, silence, obfuscation, and inadequate justification for the agency’s refusal to provide a reasoned determination and responsive records,” Open the Books told the court.
Here is Yee’s CADEM Vice Chair campaign page:
As the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Yee is indeed a success story. Born in 1957, and originally speaking no English, she went on to graduate college and a master’s program, and get elected to statewide Constitutional office.
Originally speaking no English, she spent her grade school years in the San Francisco Unified School District and graduated from Lowell High School before attending the University of California, Berkeley as an undergraduate, attaining a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She went on to attend Golden Gate University, from which she earned a master’s degree in Public Administration.
Yee worked for the Legislature and was then Governor Gray Davis‘s Chief Deputy Director for Budget, later saying that “My role was to present all the options possible. Politics came into play. The governor and legislative leaders made decisions that sometimes didn’t agree with our recommendations.” She then became the Chief Deputy to Board of Equalization member Carole Migden. She was appointed to fill the seat when Migden vacated it after being elected to the State Senate.
Yee’s personal and career history is impressive. However, Something is rotten in the state of Denmark … ” as goes the phrase from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. The idiom means something is seriously amiss; there is a smell of corruption.
Epoch Times ended on a serious but lighter note: “Open the Books required no litigation to obtain spending records it sought from the other 47 states,” Andrzejewski said. “The group also regularly receives spending data from virtually all of the nation’s 500 most populous cities.”
“We even get the checkbooks from the historically, systemically corrupt Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” said Andrzejewski. He chuckled and said, “We do get the second set of books from there.”