Janet Napolitano is sorry she got caught trying to rig a state audit

In a contentious four-and-a-half-hour legislative hearing yesterday in Sacramento, Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, made a pro forma apology for conduct that should have gotten her fired.  She tried to rig an independent state audit, and she got caught, and she is sorry (I paraphrase).

Alexi Koseff explains further in the Sacramento Bee:

University of California President Janet Napolitano apologized Tuesday for creating the "wrong impression" that she had improperly interfered in a critical state audit of her office released last week.

At a legislative hearing to review the audit findings, Napolitano acknowledged that she and her staff communicated with campus leaders about a survey meant to independently assess the value of her office's operations.

"While we believe we did things appropriately, it is clear in retrospect that we could have handled this better," she said. "I am sorry that we did it this way, because it has created the wrong impression and detracted from the important fact that we accept the recommendations in the audit report."

She didn't just communicate – her people got advance copies of the responses to the auditors' questions and then demanded and got changes.

Auditor Elaine Howle has asserted that the UC Office of the President interfered with her work by reviewing surveys sent independently to campus leaders and requesting changes that reflected more positively on its operations before they were submitted.

"In my 17 years as state auditor, we have never had a situation like this," she said Tuesday.

As the well compensated chief executive of a $30-billion-a-year tax-exempt enterprise owned by the citizens of California, Janet Napolitano had a lot riding on the outcome of a state audit she was about to face.  So she rigged it and got caught.  Koseff even provides a chart showing the changes.

And she still has her job.  Despite the bipartisan anger that was expressed at the hearing.

And nobody cares that she has dodged any responsibility for the safety of the Berkeley campus, despite her background as secretary of homeland security.  Nobody has even asked her about it, so far as I know.

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