The evidence is in: state officials in California willfully defrauded the public in order to enhance their budgets. If nobody ends up in jail over this fraud, we can expect more of it - much more. In fact, we have no idea how serious the problem already is, but as face the possibility of a partial government shutdown over the federal debt limit, it is important to keep in mind the mendacity of bureaucrats who plead poverty when dunnin g the public for more taxpayer funds for their satrapies.
The Los Angeles Times reports Iin a blog, not in the paper itself, apparently) on an official investigation, whose results were released on Friday afternoon - the best time of the week in which to bury something embarrassing:
Fear of embarrassment and budget cuts led California parks officials to intentionally conceal millions of dollars in a department account, according to an investigation conducted by the state attorney general's office.
The report, released Friday, is the most detailed official narrative yet regarding the root of the accounting scandal at the parks department.
The scandal broke last summer when it was revealed that the parks department had a hidden surplus of nearly $54 million even though it was threatening to close dozens of facilities.
About $20 million was found in an account where entrance fees and other revenues are deposited. Accounting discrepancies appeared to begin innocently more than a decade ago, leading to fluctuating reports on how much money was in the fund, investigators said.
But in 2002, when the problems were identified, parks officials made a "conscious and deliberate" decision not to reveal the money to officials at the Department of Finance, which plans the state budget.
I still remember vividly when the Congress under Speaker Gingrich played hardball with Bill Clinton over the debt extension, and the first propaganda moves were to "close" national parks, and have the media run sob stories about the poor families unable to use the magnificent parks. If push comes to shove this year, expect the same propaganda tricks to be used. We must be prepared to fight back with then story of lying bureaucrats closing parks to dun us for more money, when they had sufficient funds all along.
If a private business defrauded its shareholders or customers in this way, executives would be facing jail. Why should government executives face lesser accountability? After all, they carry the force of law with them, and with that comes extra responsibility.