What’s gotten into California? All major newspapers in the state have done something remarkable: They endorsed Republican Lanhee Chen for controller, a highly influential role of chief fiscal officer for the state. Controller is likely the only state official who can put a check on California’s one party-monopoly by exposing government waste and demanding accountability — an important reminder of the importance of state offices. Newspapers up and down the famously liberal state, from the San Francisco Chronicle to the San Diego Tribune, have endorsed Chen.
The controller pays the state’s bills, exposes fraud, and issues financial reports to taxpayers. But the current controller, Democrat Betty Yee, has been sleeping on the job. Under her watch, the state paid over $20 billion in unemployment benefits to known criminals when Governor Newsom decided anyone who applied for pandemic benefits could get them. As a result, California was scammed by prisoners, mobsters from Russia and China, and even wrote a check to Diane Feinstein. Billions of taxpayer dollars wasted.
It’s no wonder the Democrats are ignoring calls to release California’s annual financial report; the last one they released was for fiscal year 2019-2020. This is unbelievable considering California is the world’s fifth-largest economy and is set to overtake Germany to become the fourth-largest.
For context, imagine owning stock in a big company traded on the stock exchange. The company’s executives are supposed to file comprehensive annual financial statements. But this company refuses to share the state of its fiscal health with you, a shareholder. For the company’s last annual report, an independent auditor tried to distance himself, giving the report a “disclaimer of opinion.” This typically means that the company has failed to provide evidence of its expenditures to the satisfaction of the auditor and the issue is pervasive. For publicly held companies, the red flag raised by auditors could mean that investors lose faith and sell off shares, leading to a crash in stock price. Criminal investigations may even follow.
This is what’s happening with California’s finances. What’s more, the state is refusing to release its financials before the midterm elections. Taxpayers deserve better.
So the liberals at the Los Angeles Times and all of California’s major state newspapers answered by endorsing Chen, a wonky policy guru who advised everyone from George W Bush to Mitt Romney. He has a PhD and law degrees, but he’s also an experienced businessman with experience investing in startups.
California Democrats made it easy for the press to endorse a Republican. Their nominee for the powerful controller role — the state’s chief fiscal officer — chairs the Board of Equalization, a tax agency. She has no real-world experience to speak of, but what’s more, she’s a financial disaster. The LA Times reported that she allegedly didn’t pay her own business taxes, got her business license suspended by the tax board, and even ditched her mortgage. Amazingly, she told reporters that she got foreclosed on not because she couldn’t afford to pay her mortgage, but because she just didn’t want to keep paying according to the agreed-upon rate. She’s the laughingstock of the party and has no business managing California’s finances.
Now the word is the Hollywood liberals in California don’t want this financially inept person’s hands on their tax dollars. But they don’t have the backbone to publicly back Chen, even if they intend to vote for him.
His opponent Malia Cohen doesn’t even seem to know the function of the office she is seeking. In a recent interview, she said that if she finds anything glaring in the audits, she will sit down and “talk” with the offending party to see what could be done. If this financial deadbeat gets elected, having someone like her in office could become the national model – qualifications no longer matter. California’s press is leading the charge to stop her. There might be hope for the Hollywood liberals after all.
Rick Amato, is a former financial adviser for Merrill Lynch and founded the Amato Wealth Management Group. He is currently the host of Politics And Profits with Rick Amato. Find out more at YourAmericaTV.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller