Treasurer Says Hiring One of the Major National Accounting Firms Will Prevent Waste and Fraud

BATON ROUGE, LA – The state should hire the Louisiana office of one of the Big Four major national accounting firms to aid in the accounting and auditing of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal funds flowing into Louisiana to help pay for the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy.

The amount of federal aid that we have been promised, and I believe that we will receive, is unprecedented in the billions of dollars, said Treasurer Kennedy. The whole world will be watching how we handle that money, and we are all aware of Louisiana’s reputation. We are much better than our reputation, and this is a chance to prove it. We need checks and balances and rechecks and re-balances.

The major national accounting firms include Price Waterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche and KPMG. Treasurer Kennedy proposes hiring one of these firms, all of which have Louisiana offices staffed by Louisiana certified public accountants and employees, to review documentation, track FEMA payments, and audit payments to make sure funds were spent honestly and correctly. Treasurer Kennedy suggests that the firm work under the supervision of the Legislative Auditor and the Inspector General to make certain that all expenditures are properly documented and solely benefit the people who were hurt by this storm.

There is no question in my mind that Louisiana will be held to a higher standard than other states, said Treasurer Kennedy. We must have zero tolerance for stealing, corruption, waste and abuse. The only way to do that properly is to have as many checks and balances as possible built into the system without jeopardizing the need to move with all deliberate speed. The best way to gather the necessary documentation is to hire a big accounting firm whose sole job is to make sure that all spending is documented and none of the money is stolen.

Sarah Mulhearn
(225) 342-0012