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Pro Tem Comments On Airplane Audit

"I'm a little surprised by the protests from Governor Keating's staff and Public Safety Commissioner Bob Ricks. This inquiry was initiated by members of the legislative branch. The Legislature requested the audit and hired Susan Loving to act as special counsel, making it entirely appropriate for her to participate in witness interviews in conjunction with the auditor's staff. It's my understanding that such joint interviews are fairly common in state audits because they reduce duplicative efforts. There is no need for one witness to have to submit to multiple interviews from different investigating authorities when the same result could be accomplished with a single interview.

For Mr. Ricks and members of the Governor's staff to insinuate that the audit might be compromised by Susan Loving's involvement is ludicrous. Susan Loving has compiled a spotless record of public service and her reputation for fair and ethical treatment is above reproach. Governor Keating has recognized Susan Loving's abilities, lauding her career of bipartisan public service on many occasions. The Governor even welcomed her appointment as special counsel in this matter, saying 'she will serve with integrity... and provide balance and a fair-minded result.'

I'm still not entirely clear as to why Governor Keating's office is going to such great lengths to bar Susan Loving from an interview of a DPS official. Mr. Ricks has said on many occasions that Governor Keating had nothing to do with the purchase of the airplane. Given those statements, the sudden interest of the Governor's staff is a little baffling. I just don't understand why the Governor's attorney would demand to be present at an interview focusing on a purchase made by the Department of Public Safety.

I am confident the investigation will proceed in a timely manner, hopefully with no more interference from the Governor's staff. Susan Loving and the State Auditor are simply trying to gather the facts and should not be obstructed in any way."