Democrat Legislative Leaders Thwart Audit of Botched Billion Dollar PPE Contracts

No transparency of spending taxpayers’ monies for Gov's mask contracts
Thursday, July 30, 2020

The California Legislature cancelled the August 11 hearing of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC), effectively abandoning all efforts to bring transparency and shining light on the spending of billions of taxpayer dollars on personal protective equipment with companies like China-owned BYD and Blue Flame.

“This is beyond belief – rubbish,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “The Administration has botched one billion dollar contract after another, and now legislative leaders are looking in the other direction, and quietly walking away without reviewing how the state spent all that money – monies that could have gone to help businesses and unemployed Californians.”

“I've served in the Legislature for many years, and I have never seen anything like this. It is the duty and responsibility of this Legislature to oversee the state’s spending, always, but most importantly during an emergency declaration where extraordinary power has been vested in one person - the Governor.”

On July 20, Senator Nielsen and Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), Chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, called for an audit of the state’s spending on PPE. 

In May, Republican lawmakers submitted a request to pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to immediately convene JLAC for the purpose of hearing an audit request of the state’s handling of all 2020 spending on PPE.

The Legislative year ends August 31, unless the Governor calls for a Special Session. Therefore, the August 11 hearing is critical for all audit requests for this year including one to audit the Employment Development Department in its handling of unemployment claims during the COVID shutdown.

Chairman Salas said in a Facebook post, “I am disappointed that JLAC was not scheduled for a hearing next week. As Chair, I intend to seek emergency audit authority to look into unemployment insurance (EDD) & personal protective equipment (PPE). Californians deserve greater accountability & transparency.”

“I will continue to work with Chairman Salas to protect taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars today,” added Senator Jim Nielsen.

To read the audit request from Assemblyman Salas and Senator Nielsen, please click here.

To read the Republican letter in its entirety, please click here.

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Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at Follow him @CASenatorJim.

Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.