Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg today released a copy of his letter to State Auditor Charlie Janssen requesting an audit of the Nebraska Investment Financial Authority (NIFA).
In his letter, Stenberg specifically requested that the audit include the following five issues:
A complete copy of the Treasurer’s letter to the State Auditor follows:
RE: Audit of the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority
Dear Auditor Janssen:
I respectfully request that the State Auditor’s Office do a thorough audit of the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (“NIFA”). This request is prompted by the continuing failure of the Executive Director of the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, Mr. Timothy Kenny, to provide certain financial information to the State Treasurer as required by law. This continuing failure by Mr. Kenny raises substantial concerns that there is something in the financial records of NIFA which Mr. Kenny does not want the world to see.
Allow me to provide some background which led me to request an audit of NIFA.
In 2009, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 16 to put the state’s checkbook on line for the purpose of giving taxpayers the transparency they needed to see where their tax dollars go. For each state agency, it requires that the amount, date, purpose and recipient of all state expenditures be made available on line.
In 2016, the Legislature passed LB 851 by a vote of 48-0 to require that the same disclosure be made for entities created by state law whose board has one or more persons appointed by the Governor.
Every “independent instrumentality” except NIFA is complying with the Taxpayer Transparency Act as written.
Since Last September, the Executive Director of NIFA, Mr. Timothy Kenny, has, with the assistance of his lawyers, engaged in a campaign of obstruction to conceal financial information concerning NIFA from the State Treasurer.
Excuse after excuse has been made. Volumes of correspondence has been exchanged. I have enclosed a complete set of that correspondence with this letter for your information.
Several meetings have been held – all of which ended with no agreement from Mr. Kenny or his lawyers that Mr. Kenny would obey the law as written, the law which passed the Legislature 48-0.
In my opinion, when a government bureaucrat fights this hard to prevent the disclosure of financial information, he is hiding something.
Please note that in the last two calendar years, NIFA has issued $475,000,000 in housing bonds. They have approximately $1 billion in bonds outstanding.
And finally, please note, concerning the effectiveness of NIFA’s internal control, KPMG specifically stated they express no opinion concerning that issue.
The Executive Director of NIFA states in the attached Omaha World-Herald article that he would welcome an audit by the State Auditor. Given the large sums of monies involved, I strongly encourage you to give favorable consideration to this request for an audit of the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority.
Please let me know if you need additional information. Thank you for your consideration.