Our Office has recently issued several reports on instances of criminal activity in which public money has been misused by government employees, resulting in their indictment on felony charges. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office is currently investigating a number of school districts that may have exceeded their express and implied authority by creating and operating foundations or nonprofit corporations, thereby misusing district money, supplies, equipment, and personnel.
This alert outlines how governing bodies can help protect public monies by exercising appropriate oversight. Specifically, public officials should ensure that they do not:
- Violate the public monies gift clause of the Arizona Constitution;
- Incur costs involving private organizations that exceed the public benefit; and
- Commingle public monies with private monies.
Putting effective controls in place can help ensure compliance with state laws and help prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.