Auditor General DePasquale to audit $10M grant given to DNC
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced Thursday his intention to audit the $10 million state grant given to the Democratic National Committee to help fund last July’s national convention in Philadelphia.
Reports from the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News that there was a $4 million surplus of funds, $1 million of which went to pay for bonuses for staff members, led to Governor Tom Wolf and Senate Republicans calling for an audit earlier in the week.
“No matter what the use of state funds — whether for schools, for a state agency operation, or for support of a major national event that generate economic benefits — the public has a right to know that those funds were spent appropriately and lawfully,” DePasquale said.
At the audit’s central focus, is where did the $4 million extra from the $86 million budget to host the event come from: the grant money, which is funded by Pennsylvania taxes, or private donors?
He also wants to make sure those public and private funds were spent separately. If they are co-mingled, he says, an audit could view how the entire $86 million budget was spent.
It remains unclear if the state can get paid back part of the $10 million grant, if it is determined the money was illegally spent.
“If there is a provision in the grant agreement that wasn’t followed, then we can make a recommendation to the state on how to recoup that funding,” DePasquale said.
Committee chairman and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will cooperate fully with the audit, DePasquale said.
DePasquale, a Democrat, participated in July’s convention as a delegate. He said he would not let party affiliation interfere with the audit process.
State House Republicans are drafting a letter to Rendell and the host committee, asking them to payback the money given to staff members as bonuses.
House Republican spokesperson Stephen Miskin told FOX43 any extra money from the event should go back to Pennsylvania citizens.
“The General Assembly and the Governor was led to believe they needed this money. It was urgent. If there was leftover money, it should have been sent back to the taxpayers,” Miskin said.
DePasquale responded, saying if the bonus money was paid out from private funding sources, it may not matter what Republicans want.
“You can have a complete disagreement with how the bonuses are paid, and at the same time they may have been legal,” DePasquale said.