UC to investigate claims Napolitano tampered with audit

The University of California is seeking to probe allegations that its president interfered with a survey of campuses conducted by the state auditor.

According to a report from SFGATE, the institution’s Board of Regents has hired a local law firm and former state Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno to assist in evaluating allegations that the confidential survey was inappropriately screened by President Janet Napolitano’s office.

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The decision was announced just days after state lawmakers introduced legislation intended to punish individuals who attempt to maliciously interfere with the state audit.

In April, state Auditor Elaine Howle released a report claiming that the university concealed $175 million in secret funds while asking the state to provide the institution with even more funding.

The report showed that Napolitano’s office overestimated the cost for running the 10-campus system while spending less than indicated in the official budget, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In addition to her findings, Howle accused Napolitano’s office of inappropriately screening responses from university administrators that were intended to be confidential.

Email communications between the university headquarters and its campuses, obtained by The Chronicle, suggest that Napolitano requested audit responses before submitting them to Howle, which would render them unusable. 

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Napolitano, however, when testifying before state legislators in May, claimed that her staffers reviewed the responses only after they were submitted to the state auditor.

She did, though, issue an apology for her handling of the situation, claiming during her testimony that she “wasn’t involved in the day-to-day, back and forth of the surveys.”

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