Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), announced two first-of-their-kind initiatives that bring together federal, state, and local auditors to advance coordinated oversight of pandemic spending. The PRAC has added Elaine Howle, the former California State Auditor, to serve as the PRAC’s Special Advisor for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Oversight. In addition, two auditors from the Tennessee Comptroller’s office have joined the PRAC’s new auditor-in-residence program.
Ms. Howle brings nearly 40 years of professional auditing and leadership experience to the PRAC, including 20 years as California State Auditor before retiring at the end of 2021.
In that role, Ms. Howle received multiple awards. She was named a Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine and received the William R. Snodgrass award from the National State Auditors Association, which recognizes individuals who made notable contributions to state government auditing .
“We’re extremely excited to bring Elaine’s expertise to the PRAC,” said Chair Horowitz. “While serving as the California State Auditor she was relentless in rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse, and was instrumental in opening lines of communication between federal and state oversight professionals. This ongoing partnership has helped watchdogs react quickly to emerging issues to protect taxpayer dollars.”
Highly valued for their “boots on the ground” perspective, state and local auditors meet with the PRAC regularly to discuss best practices and challenges faced in overseeing $500 billion that went directly to state and local governments to help recover from the pandemic. These discussions include federal Offices of Inspectors General; the Government Accountability Office; the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers; the Association of Local Government Auditors; and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
“Having a centralized place where state and local oversight entities can quickly access information and learn about common challenges helps the oversight community direct its resources in areas where they’re most needed,” said Ms. Howle. “I’m excited to join the PRAC to further this effort.”
The two auditors from the Tennessee Comptroller’s office joining the PRAC bring with them a combined 30 years’ worth of experience auditing complex, high-profile programs. They joined through a reimbursable detail arrangement under the PRAC’s new auditor-in-residence program.
“This is a great opportunity for Tennessee auditors to collaborate with our federal counterparts and grow in their expertise,” said Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Jason Mumpower. “I’m confident our auditors’ participation will help protect taxpayer funds as well as improve the management and oversight of the federal programs involved.”
“Overseeing over $5 trillion in pandemic spending presents many unique challenges, so it is imperative for the PRAC and federal Inspectors General to work closely with our colleagues in the state and local oversight community in our efforts to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse,” added Chair Horowitz. “We are deeply appreciative of Comptroller Mumpower’s willingness to allow such talented professionals to work with the PRAC.”
Read more from our state & local oversight partners
The public can see more than 230 reports from state, county, and local auditors on unemployment insurance, pandemic preparedness, contact tracing, and more in our website’s online reports library.
The PRAC was established by the CARES Act to promote transparency and support independent oversight of the funds provided by the CARES Act and other related emergency spending bills. In addition to its coordination and oversight responsibilities, the PRAC is tasked with supporting efforts to “prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement [and] mitigate major risks that cut across program and agency boundaries.”
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