Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) had this to say after Democrats refused to allow a vote on a resolution granting subpoena power to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee to investigate the “Distressed Cities” program:
“This program has spent an incredible $642 million without any public accounting to the taxpayers. It appears to have been used, and almost certainly was used, as a slush fund for politically connected officials to send money to other politically connected officials.
“The Department of Community Affairs has rebuffed repeated efforts by Senate Republicans to obtain documents detailing how decisions about how this money was spent were made. It’s outrageous that elected senators can be refused these documents. Granting subpoena power is the only justifiable response.
“Senator Buono, chairman of the budget committee, has suggested the state auditor should investigate the program, and I applaud her concern. But what makes anyone think state officials would be any more cooperative with an auditor’s request for documents than with a Senate committee?
“Determining how state money is spent is the job of the Legislature. We should embrace, not shirk, that responsibility. Democrats should join Republicans in demanding a Senate investigation.”