2020 Florida Statutes
Legislative Auditing Committee.
Legislative Auditing Committee.
11.40 Legislative Auditing Committee.—
(1) The Legislative Auditing Committee may take under investigation any matter within the scope of an audit, review, or examination either completed or then being conducted by the Auditor General or the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, and, in connection with such investigation, may exercise the powers of subpoena by law vested in a standing committee of the Legislature.
(2) Following notification by the Auditor General, the Department of Financial Services, the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration, the Governor or his or her designee, or the Commissioner of Education or his or her designee of the failure of a local governmental entity, district school board, charter school, or charter technical career center to comply with the applicable provisions within s. 11.45(5)-(7), s. 218.32(1), s. 218.38, or s. 218.503(3), the Legislative Auditing Committee may schedule a hearing to determine if the entity should be subject to further state action. If the committee determines that the entity should be subject to further state action, the committee shall:
(a) In the case of a local governmental entity or district school board, direct the Department of Revenue and the Department of Financial Services to withhold any funds not pledged for bond debt service satisfaction which are payable to such entity until the entity complies with the law. The committee shall specify the date that such action must begin, and the directive must be received by the Department of Revenue and the Department of Financial Services 30 days before the date of the distribution mandated by law. The Department of Revenue and the Department of Financial Services may implement this paragraph.
(b) In the case of a special district created by:
1. A special act, notify the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the standing committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives charged with special district oversight as determined by the presiding officers of each respective chamber, the legislators who represent a portion of the geographical jurisdiction of the special district, and the Department of Economic Opportunity that the special district has failed to comply with the law. Upon receipt of notification, the Department of Economic Opportunity shall proceed pursuant to s. 189.062 or s. 189.067. If the special district remains in noncompliance after the process set forth in s. 189.0651, or if a public hearing is not held, the Legislative Auditing Committee may request the department to proceed pursuant to s. 189.067(3).
2. A local ordinance, notify the chair or equivalent of the local general-purpose government pursuant to s. 189.0652 and the Department of Economic Opportunity that the special district has failed to comply with the law. Upon receipt of notification, the department shall proceed pursuant to s. 189.062 or s. 189.067. If the special district remains in noncompliance after the process set forth in s. 189.0652, or if a public hearing is not held, the Legislative Auditing Committee may request the department to proceed pursuant to s. 189.067(3).
(3)(a) As used in this subsection, “independent contract auditor” means a state-licensed certified public accountant or firm with which a state-licensed certified public accountant is currently employed or associated who is actively engaged in the accounting profession.
(b) Audits specified in this subsection cover the quarterly compensation reports for the previous calendar year for a random sample of 3 percent of all legislative branch lobbying firms and a random sample of 3 percent of all executive branch lobbying firms calculated using as the total number of such lobbying firms those filing a compensation report for the preceding calendar year. The committee shall provide for a system of random selection of the lobbying firms to be audited.
(c) The committee shall create and maintain a list of not less than 10 independent contract auditors approved to conduct the required audits. Each lobbying firm selected for audit in the random audit process may designate one of the independent contract auditors from the committee’s approved list. Upon failure for any reason of a lobbying firm selected in the random selection process to designate an independent contract auditor from the committee’s list within 30 calendar days after being notified by the committee of its selection, the committee shall assign one of the available independent contract auditors from the approved list to perform the required audit. No independent contract auditor, whether designated by the lobbying firm or by the committee, may perform the audit of a lobbying firm where the auditor and lobbying firm have ever had a direct personal relationship or any professional accounting, auditing, tax advisory, or tax preparing relationship with each other. The committee shall obtain a written, sworn certification subject to s. 837.06, both from the randomly selected lobbying firm and from the proposed independent contract auditor, that no such relationship has ever existed.
(d) Each independent contract auditor shall be engaged by and compensated solely by the state for the work performed in accomplishing an audit under this subsection.
(e) Any violations of law, deficiencies, or material misstatements discovered and noted in an audit report shall be clearly identified in the audit report and be determined under the rules of either house of the Legislature or under the joint rules, as applicable.
(f) If any lobbying firm fails to give full, frank, and prompt cooperation and access to books, records, and associated backup documents as requested in writing by the auditor, that failure shall be clearly noted by the independent contract auditor in the report of audit.
(g) The committee shall establish procedures for the selection of independent contract auditors desiring to enter into audit contracts pursuant to this subsection. Such procedures shall include, but not be limited to, a rating system that takes into account pertinent information, including the independent contract auditor’s fee proposals for participating in the process. All contracts under this subsection between an independent contract auditor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate shall be terminable by either party at any time upon written notice to the other, and such contracts may contain such other terms and conditions as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate deem appropriate under the circumstances.
(h) The committee shall adopt guidelines that govern random audits and field investigations conducted pursuant to this subsection. The guidelines shall ensure that similarly situated compensation reports are audited in a uniform manner. The guidelines shall also be formulated to encourage compliance and detect violations of the legislative and executive lobbying compensation reporting requirements in ss. 11.045 and 112.3215 and to ensure that each audit is conducted with maximum efficiency in a cost-effective manner. In adopting the guidelines, the committee shall consider relevant guidelines and standards of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to the extent that such guidelines and standards are applicable and consistent with the purposes set forth in this subsection.
(i) All audit reports of legislative lobbying firms shall, upon completion by an independent contract auditor, be delivered to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives for their respective review and handling. All audit reports of executive branch lobbyists, upon completion by an independent contract auditor, shall be delivered by the auditor to the Commission on Ethics.
History.—s. 1, ch. 67-470; s. 1, ch. 69-82; s. 1, ch. 73-6; s. 18, ch. 95-147; s. 21, ch. 96-318; s. 13, ch. 2001-266; s. 879, ch. 2002-387; s. 5, ch. 2003-261; s. 1, ch. 2004-5; s. 1, ch. 2004-305; s. 4, ch. 2005-359; s. 1, ch. 2009-74; s. 12, ch. 2011-34; s. 11, ch. 2011-52; s. 35, ch. 2011-142; s. 1, ch. 2011-144; s. 2, ch. 2014-22; s. 1, ch. 2016-22; s. 1, ch. 2019-15.
Note.—Former s. 11.181.