Democrat Sand working to win state auditor’s race

Sand

Sand

A Democrat running for state auditor recognized a former Republican state auditor as an independent and conscientious office-holder.

It is that kind of bipartisan and common sense approach former state prosecutor Rob Sand hopes will be attractive to voters and propel him into the winner’s circle this November.

“Former State Auditor Richard Johnson, a Republican, disagreed with Gov. Terry Branstad on budget issues,” said Sand, who served in the attorney general’s office from 2010-17.

Sand contrasted Johnson’s independence to Mary Mosiman, the current state auditor.

He told the Times-Republican in a telephone interview that Mosiman is too partisan in defending Gov. Kim Reynolds’ budget decisions.

As an assistant attorney general, Sand said he ignored party affiliation while prosecuting Democrats and Republicans in a number of cases involving public corruption and financial crimes.

He said he would be independent if elected state auditor, where the mission of the office “is to be the taxpayer’s watchdog.”

Sand resigned last year to devote full time to the campaign.

“I look at this office (state auditor) and we could do a lot better for Iowa taxpayers,” he said.

If elected, Sand said he would implement changes to the office by emphasizing financial investigations while working to improve efficiency within state and local government.

“I have probably read more of the state auditor’s special investigations — the public corruption investigations — than anyone in the state in the last seven years,” he said. “I kept reading these reports. Why did the auditor make this decision? Why did the auditor structure the analysis that way? Why did the auditor ask this question? There is no one in the state auditor’s office with a background in prosecuting financial crime, no one in that office with a law enforcement background, no one there who is a former police officer, or a former prosecutor. That is despite the they finish one of these investigations it is sent to the appropriate county attorney or attorney general’s office for possible prosecution.”

Improving government efficiency is part of the state auditor’s job description, and Sand said he would make it a priority

“It is a wonderful, non-controversial idea we should be able to do something about … the thing is … the state auditor’s office does not do it. They do not direct people in the office to make efficiency recommendations to counties or cities or state agencies. They have a mandate to do that.”

Additionally, the office performs financial audits of Iowa state governments and the state’s political subdivisions — including counties, cities and school districts, among other duties.

Sand said being a trial attorney for some of the state’s biggest white-collar crimes has prepared him to run a state office.

He had major responsibilities with attorneys and law enforcement officials in several states prosecuting the “Hot Lotto” case in which a Iowa state employee at a multi-state lottery organization influenced lottery jackpots worth approximately $25 million.

Sand said trial attorneys frequently work 18 hours a day while traveling state wide for cases.

Sand, 35, is a Decorah native. He is married, with two young children. He attended Decorah schools K-12, and later graduated from Brown University and University of Iowa Law School.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com