General Assembly Vote Tracker

Schwartzkopf buries Auditor Bill in a stunning act of corruption

Last week, Senate Bill 159 passed the Senate by a vote of 13-6-2. This bill is not unlike House Bill 186 sponsored by State Representative Kim Williams. The goal of both bills is to get State Auditor and Schwartzkopf confidante and Republican socialite Kathy McGuiness to do her job and audit state agencies and school districts and charter schools.

These bills were needed after McGuiness rejected a request for an audit of the Odyssey Charter School by Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting. McGuiness told Bunting that nah, she didn’t feel like it.

House Bill 186 was narrowly tailored to require by law that the state auditor will conduct or contract for an audit to be conducted of any charter school upon request by the legislators or state officials. But it is a House bill and subject to the House Speaker’s control. So Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf would likely not allow that bill a vote. So those in support of getting Park City Kathy to do the job she is paid to do went to the Senate.

SB159 is also narrowly tailored to Charter Schools (I would expand the universe to all school districts, universities and state agencies) and would authorize the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Department of Education of the General Assembly to request an audit, and once that request is made and is based on evidence of misuse of state money or a violation of state law, then the Auditor is required to either conduct that audit or contract with a third party to conduct that audit.

This bill passed the Senate and is now in the House Education Committee as of yesterday evening, after the House Education Committee held its last hearing and meeting for the year. It passed the Senate on Thursday last week, and while all other Senate bills were immediately assigned a committee so that action could proceed this week on them, this bill lingered in limbo. It is a sign that Speaker Pete was playing games with the bill, denying it a hearing and a vote so as to protect his friend Kathy McGuiness.

Here is Mike Matthews on this situation, from a comment on this blog from another post: “Let me say this: I listened to the audio of last week’s Senate Committee meeting where this bill was heard and McGuiness is clueless. There’s really no other word to describe her complete non-understanding of what’s going on here. She said “The school is doing an audit in July” in reference to Odyssey Charter. Yes, they are. All charter schools do audits every year. But THEY pick the auditor and school-initiated audits do not do the same thing as an INVESTIGATIVE audit done by the auditor’s office. She was either treating everyone in that committee meeting like idiots or she really doesn’t know the difference between the two.

We have an extremely talented woman — Kathleen Davies — in the auditor’s office right now who should have won the primary. We’ve got McGuiness in there obfuscating with Odyssey Charter, which could have something to do with her deep Greek connections and the fact that some of the high-ups in Odyssey held a fundraiser for her during her ill-fated run for Lieutenant Governor a few years ago. That Speaker Schwartzkopf appears to be giving cover for McGuiness is what’s truly disappointing here.”

I don’t think the Greek connection has anything to do with it. McGuiness is just an incompetent installed in office by Pete so that state agencies and charter schools do not get vigorous investigative audits.

Denying Senate Bill 159 a hearing and a vote in the final week of the first half of the 150th General Assembly is a corrupt act.

WHERE IS THE BILL NOW? In Pete’s desk drawer.

DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Walsh, K.Williams, Kowalko, Lockman, Paradee, oore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Baumbach, Bennett, Brady, Dorsey Walker, Longhurst, Matthews, Mitchell, Osienski, Viola

REPUBLICAN SPONSORS – Delcollo, Pettyjohn, Wilson, Michael Smith

YES VOTES – SENATE — Brown, Delcollo, Ennis, Hansen, Lockman, McBride, McDowell, Paradee, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh ||| HOUSE — 

NO VOTES – SENATE — Bonini, Hocker, Lawson, Lopez, Richardson, Wilson ||| HOUSE —

ABSENT – Cloutier, Pettyjohn

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

7 comments on “Schwartzkopf buries Auditor Bill in a stunning act of corruption

  1. John Kowalko

    Permitting/allowing/encouraging a Committee Chair to pick and choose which bills assigned to his or her committee will have a committee hearing is an abuse of power and a manifestation of a megalomaniac personality that needs to dominate his peers to hide his own insecurities. A Committee Chair (education) who insists that he has the sole right to deny a committee hearing for legislation that he does not support is equally as guilty of a moral corruption. When the House leader and a Committee Chair seek to bully/coerce and vilify an individual legislator such as Rep. Williams in the presence of the entire caucus for her attempts to do the right thing for the taxpaying public they have overstepped the boundaries of their authority and any common decency. When the only person to challenge this misogynistic attitude in caucus while the rest of the caucus remains virtually silent is yours truly it is a stunning disappointment and reflection of how those placed in powerful positions can and do manipulate the attitudes of the entire group through a series of coercive intimidations, rewards (appointments) and threats (removals from key positions and desk drawer vetoes of proposed legislation) that is reflective of a dictatorial abuse of power. The unwillingness to challenge those who would immorally and without conscience attack one of the truly people oriented legislators such as Kim Williams by the group causes them to become enablers of this abuse and bullying tactic. There is and should never be any willingness to condone such abuses of power without the expectation that soon they may be next. The disgraceful behavior of those that abuse power should leave those individuals with only one option and that is to resign their positions of power for the greater good of the caucus and the taxpayers of Delaware.
    Representative John Kowalko

  2. This was the exact thing I warned about with McGuiness getting elected for this position. Everyone was so concerned about any Republican holding statewide office in Delaware in the “Blue Wave of 2018” that they elected McGuiness. Anyone with a remote understanding of the players in Delaware politics knew this was going to happen. Spadola would have been a MUCH better choice. This should be a lesson for all Delawareans who vote straight down on party lines. You reap what you sow.

  3. Only an independent Inspector General will foster change in Delaware. Until then only deceit, deception, duplicity, double-dealing and fraud will rule.

  4. cassandram

    Do we think that either Pete or the Auditor would have had the same response if Kuumba Academy or Eastside Charter had Odyssey’s issues and was in crucial need of investigating how taxpayer money has been spent? I don’t. Am pretty certain that *these* schools would be audited to within an inch of their lives AND they would take the opportunity to tell everyone who would listen how they were serious about rooting out all of the waste, fraud and abuse lurking in these schools. Because the game is to make sure that some Charters are given a free hand, while those serving black and brown kids get all of the surveillance. This thing is as good government as it gets and it gets shelved because we want to let one charter school be immune from the rules of using taxpayer dollars.

    • I agree Cassandra. I have to call out Kendall Massett from the Delaware Charter Schools Network. She knows what is going on at these schools way before anyone has a sniff of it. People like Pete and Earl listen to her as if she is the Queen of Delaware. I published an article a couple weeks ago about Design Thinking Academy where she basically told the school in an email to make sure word didn’t get out about alleged fraud scams going on there. I don’t, and won’t, ever trust her. She fights legislation like this tooth and nail. I have to wonder how much is going on at some of these schools that we DON’T know about. That is more frightening to me than what we do know.

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