JLARC holds work session on the Columbia River Crossing forensic audit
On September 18, 2013, Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee (JLARC) is holding a hearing regarding a forensic accounting audit on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project. Washington Policy Center has been among the first of those calling for a fraud audit. A timeline of events leading up to the JLARC hearing follows:
- December 2012: Washington Policy Center sent a letter to then-State Auditor Brian Sonntag respectfully requesting a fraud audit. The text of the letter follows:
Dear Mr. Sonntag,
Please consider our request for the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) to perform an audit on the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project, in light of new information from an independent financial investigation.
Based in Vancouver, Washington, Acuity Group is a forensic accounting firm specializing in financial and fraud investigations. In 2011, Acuity Group was hired to analyze the CRC project and its expenditures. After reviewing thousands of documents, interviewing CRC officials and attending dozens of meetings, Acuity Group published four detailed reports, which are enclosed for your information.
I met with officials from Acuity Group and I reviewed their reports. Their investigation on the CRC project found contracting irregularities, incomplete accounting, double payments, cost overruns, conflicts of interest, and violations of the Open Public Meetings Act.
Given this new information, and the CRC’s scope and potential costs, we respectfully request that your office fully investigate the project.
Washington Policy Center
- April 2013: Senate leaders called for an investigation into the CRC in a two page letter to Governor Inslee.
- May 2013: Governor Inslee signs the transportation budget, which included money for a forensic audit on the CRC.
Washington Policy Center is pleased JLARC is looking into the Columbia River Crossing project. Planning for the $3.5 billion bridge has begun to fall apart because lawmakers did not pass funding last session for the controversial project.