Charlie Janssen

Charlie Janssen's potential conflict-of-interest statement says his position has no influence on state contracts.

Scrutiny of financial irregularities at the Nebraska Tourism Commission once again shows the value taxpayers get from a different state agency — the Auditor of Public Accounts.

That elected office, which traces its history to the first territorial Legislature in 1855, time and again has been the taxpayers’ friend.

Now headed by Charlie Janssen, the auditor’s office is there to provide important, independent, hard-nosed oversight of state and local finances. Over the years, it has disclosed problems large and small — from million-dollar overpayment of state contracts to a city manager’s use of a city credit card for personal expenses.

Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, a former state auditor, summed up the job best when he said, “If the government has the right to reach into the taxpayers’ pockets for revenue, then we have the obligation to ensure all the funds are spent properly.”

As long as government is spending our money, that will remain the auditor’s critical mission.

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