Auditors say Edmonson's copy of audit was the one leaked to media
BATON ROUGE – Former head of the State Police Mike Edmonson flipped an opportunity to respond to mismanagement of the state's highest police agency, instead, writing in a response to an audit that an investigation needs to occur into how a draft of the inquiry was leaked – not giving him proper time to respond.
Assistant Legislative Auditor Roger Harris testified in front of state lawmakers Thursday that he had determined whose copy of the audit had been leaked.
"The process that we operate under is that we always give people two weeks time in which to articulate their response back to our audit report," said Harris. "There were two copies that were delivered to a person [ahead of time]. One to Colonel Kevin Reeves with a letter that was addressed to him from me. The second one, there was a letter to Colonel Edmonson also with my signature. If you go WWLtv.com, you see a screenshot of the letter I wrote to Colonel Edmonson. I'm not saying Colonel Edmonson released the report, but I am saying it was the copy that went to him that was released to the media. I don't know where they got it from but based on everything we can tell, it definitely didn't come from us."
Edmonson is accused of lackadaisical use of state resources related to State Police – from hotel rooms to his state-owned home to how much he ate and where and how he had his uniform cleaned.
State audits are performed frequently and released in a special process allowing for a response from those targeted in the audit. Though, copies of research on how Edmonson managed his operation were mysteriously released to the newspaper in Baton Rouge and published.
In a less than two-page response to the audit, Edmonson focused on what he believes was “inherent unfairness” and asked for a separate investigation into how the documents got out.
Edmonson said he will respond to the allegations of impropriety later in January.
CLICK HERE to see the entire report.
The Governor released the following statement on the inquiry:
“I have welcomed this investigation from the beginning and instructed the Louisiana State Police to fully cooperate. The Legislative Auditor's report uncovered some troubling findings and serious problems with past abuses of power from its previous leader who left his post in March. I believe that public servants must always hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. That being said, our men and women of the State Police are honorable public servants who do a tremendous job protecting the citizens of Louisiana, often under very dangerous circumstances. Through the leadership of Col. Kevin Reeves, who took the helm of this department in March of this year, the department has already taken significant steps to restore public trust and accountability. Col. Reeves is one of the finest individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I am confident that he is already leading the State Police in a new, positive direction.”
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