State audit questions expenses of former Indiana Secretaries of State Todd Rokita, Charlie White

Audit questions overpayment of salary, benefits

INDIANAPOLIS - A State Board of Accounts audit is questioning several expenses of former Secretaries of State Todd Rokita and Charlie White.

Rokita served from January 2003 to December 31, 2010 and White served from January 2011 to February 2012.

Auditors found the Secretary of State’s office improperly overpaid Rokita in salary, benefits and housing allowance.

The extra paycheck was issued to Rokita on January 5, 2011.

Upon finding the error, auditors requested and received $4,202.44 in repayment from Rokita.

“I immediately made arrangements to pay the overage amount back into the general fund,” wrote Rokita in a response to the SBOA. “This payment has been completed.”

Auditors also questioned $6,356.63 in late penalties paid to vendors in fiscal year 2011 as a result of untimely payment of claims.

“These penalties are an unnecessary use of public funds,” read the audit.

“More than half of these supposed late payments occurred as a result of one election recount, which is a unique legal and budgetary event,” wrote Rokita in a response to the state.

Charlie White said he read about hundreds of thousands of dollars in late fees paid out by the Daniels administration, but wasn’t sure who was to blame for the mistake in the Secretary of State’s office.

“I do not know the part particular circumstances of the late payments,” wrote White in his response to the state. “In the spirit of engaging in best management practices, it is always best to pay all claims to vendors on time.”

For the current fiscal year through March 15, penalties were $437.89, according to the report.

In its response to SBOA, current Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office referred comments on the audit to former Secretaries of State.

The audit covered the time period of June 1, 2008 to March 15, 2012.

Lawson took office March 16, 2012.

Click here to read the entire audit report and full responses from Rokita, White and Secretary Lawson’s office.

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