Mike Harmon | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Mike Harmon

Political party: 
Question 1: 

What is your vision for the role of the Kentucky Auditor? How will our commonwealth be better in four years if you are elected?

My administration’s motto is “Follow the Data,” which means we don’t target anyone or give anyone a pass. The taxpayers of Kentucky deserve an Auditor who doesn’t operate the office based on any personal agenda. We take the time needed on every report to ensure we are giving the public factual information that is supported by evidence.

My office did the first ever external audit of the Administrative Office of the Courts and Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund (KLEFPF). In addition to around 600 more routine audits per year, we have also examined KentuckyWired, the University of Louisville Foundation, the Louisville Arena Authority, KEMI, the Department of Fish & Wildlife, and more. If given the opportunity to serve another four years, we will continue to build on our strong record of work.

Question 2: 

Please highlight previous experience that qualifies you for serving in this office.

Prior to being elected Auditor in 2015, I served 13 years in the Kentucky General Assembly. Before my time in public service, I learned the value of hard work and responsibility through my experience in business, particularly in insurance and banking. I am a graduate of Boyle County High School and Eastern Kentucky University with degrees in math, statistics, and theater.

Since 2015, I have served as Kentucky’s Auditor of Public Accounts. You can learn more about me and the work my office has done by visiting www.mikeharmon.com. I believe my record as Auditor speaks for itself, and I hope to continue doing this important work for a second term.

Question 3: 

What steps have you taken or would you take to fight political corruption in Kentucky?

As State Auditor, I go to work every day with the objective of making government at all levels more effective, efficient, and ethical. My office works closely with law enforcement and other agencies such as Kentucky’s Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Although the Auditor’s office is a reporting agency and has no enforcement powers of its own, we frequently refer findings of our audits to other agencies for further investigation or enforcement, including potential civil penalties or criminal prosecution.

In one of the most egregious examples, auditors identified that a former county treasurer in Jackson County had written checks to herself totaling more than $114,000 over a two-year period. Earlier this year, she pleaded guilty in federal court to counts of identity theft and wire fraud.

On the KentuckyWired project, our auditors revealed that Beshear administration officials signed a project agreement dramatically different from the RFP they had issued and obligated Kentucky taxpayers to payments of $1.5 billion on a project we were told would cost the state $30 million. My office is continuing to look further into the procurement process that allowed that to happen.

Question 4: 

What steps have you taken or would you take to ensure open, fair and transparent operations of state and local government, schools, and other public institutions?

Our office maintains a toll-free hotline (1-800-KY-ALERT) as well as a page on our website for reporting of allegations, such as waste, fraud, and abuse. Any time we receive allegations, we do an initial assessment of the concerns. The more red flags identified in the allegations and/or found during our assessment, the more likely we would be to conduct a state audit or special examination.

One of the things we have learned is the importance of building a transparent culture in all public institutions. When we did the first ever external audit of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), we found a culture with no accountability because there was no outside oversight. It is important for even conscientious employees to know there is oversight of spending and other activity that involve public funds. We called on AOC to begin having audits done annually, and we will continue to push for audits and increased transparency of any governmental entity that is operating in the shadows without public scrutiny.