42 years lived in North Carolina
In your view, what are the 3 most pressing issues the State Auditor faces? If elected, what will you do to address these issues?
The State Auditor must have adequate resources to ensure that the Auditor’s Office has the most advanced tools in the form of computers and information systems to conduct audits and investigations in the most efficient manner. With my relationships with legislative leadership, I would push for additional resources for those tools. Second, I have heard on the campaign trail great concerns about the security and integrity of the state’s IT systems – especially internet fraud. There are negative elements in the world working 24/7 to compromise government IT systems, and I believe we must exhibit constant vigilance to protect ourselves from cyber attacks that ultimately could threaten taxpayers’ money. Using my experience in the FBI and knowledge of how we dealt with internet fraud and cyber crimes, I will make the protection of our information technology system, and recruiting highly trained individuals capable of accomplishing that goal a top priority. Finally, I believe we need to raise the bar of activity in the Auditor’s Office to a higher level, not only to increase the opportunities of finding fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars in state government, but to serve as a deterrent to those who might consider doing something wrong. I will take strong action to increase this activity and develop a team second to none to accomplish the best in protecting North Carolinians’ tax dollars.
Have you identified “wasteful spending” in the current budget that you would target if elected?
That would be a something I would look at if and when I am elected among the many other priority tasks that make up the job of the State Auditor. Certainly there are areas that I saw firsthand as an FBI Special Agent that have proven to be ripe for fraud and misuse of tax dollars that we would go after. I would seek the wisdom and guidance of the team I intend to develop and prioritize areas we will look at with audits and investigations.
What in your background or life experience has prepared you for this role? Hwy do you believe you would be an effective State Auditor?
I am a lawyer and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). For 28 years, I was a Special Agent with the FBI. During that time, I investigated complex white collar crime cases including Ponzi schemes, securities fraud, government fraud, investment fraud, and health care fraud investigations. In North Carolina, I started a public corruption initiative in 1998. IN the coming years, we conducted investigations which resulted in the prosecutions of several high level public officials, including NC House Speaker Jim Black, NC legislator Mike Decker, NC Governor Mike Easley, US Congressman Frank Balance, District Court Judge Garey Balance, and former US Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards among others. After retiring from the FBI, I took the position of Chief Investigator for the NC State Board of Elections – investigating election crime. In 1.5 years, we referred over 30 cases to District Attorneys across the state – ranging from vote buying to campaign finance cases. My extensive investigative experience and success on extremely complex cases often involving powerful political figures makes me uniquely qualified to effectively serve the citizens of North Carolina as their State Auditor to protect their hard-earned tax dollars and expose fraud, wasteful spending and corruption.
How would you rate the current budget in terms of fiscal soundness? Please explain.
Rating the current budget does not seem to me to fall into the job description for State Auditor. The campaign for State Auditor is interesting in that more than for other offices, the Auditor must remain independent and non-partisan, much like a judge, to effectively do his or her job. My job will include conducting investigative and performance audits of state government and protecting the people of North Carolina’s tax dollars.
Why should voters see the State Auditor position as a significant post, one that impacts their lives where they have a vested interest in the outcome of the race?
The State Auditor is the watchdog of the taxpayer’s dollars. Too many people think that state government money comes from some magic source and don’t grasp that every dollar derives from the hard-earned money of each taxpayer in North Carolina. My job will be to help make sure that those tax dollars are spent the way they were intended by the NC General Assembly without misuse, fraud or any corruption. That is an important job. When you consider that some government programs such as Medicaid have had claims that hundreds of millions of dollars are misspent and fraud is evident, then it is something that affects each and every NC taxpayer.
Why is your political affiliation relevant in terms of your ability to perform the tasks you would be charged with should you be elected?
As an FBI Special Agent, I approached every case in a non-partisan, independent manner without an inkling of political thought involved. That’s my record, and how I would approach the job of State Auditor. I believe voters should look at my extensive investigative experience and success on extremely complex cases including the prosecution of former NC Speaker Jim Black make me uniquely qualified to serve the citizens of North Carolina as their State Auditor to protect their tax dollars and expose fraud, wasteful spending and corruption.
Political affiliation only matters in this case in how you run a political campaign. Voters know that Republicans typically talk a lot about saving taxpayers money. This job happens to have that as a goal. That’s the relevance and a convenient one that I hope will help me win this election.