State auditors said they couldn't tell if the Louisiana attorney general's office properly spent nearly $25 million because of inadequate documentation.
A review from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office released Monday found the department couldn't account for many of the transactions from the agency's escrow fund. The fund receives money from court judgments, settlements, fines, forfeitures and other penalties. Spending from the fund often is dictated by the terms of a settlement or court judgment.
The Advocate reports that Beth Davis, with the legislative auditor's office, said the lack of documentation doesn't mean the escrow fund transactions violated the state's laws or regulations. It's unclear if the transactions complied or not.
"We can't say the outflow was not appropriate, but we also can't say that it was. We weren't provided the documentation," she said.
The audit looked at public funds in the office from July 1, 2014, through June 20, 2016.
In a written response, Attorney General Jeff Landry — who took office in January — blamed his predecessor for poor record-keeping. He noted that the "audit covered a period of time prior to my administration," and he pledged to have policies to better keep track of the money.
"I cannot speak for the previous administration, but I will assure you that we take this very seriously — putting into place controls and procedures to maintain adequate documentation of all transactions," Landry wrote.
He said many records left by his predecessor Buddy Caldwell were "non-producible," which Davis said meant Landry's staff couldn't find or identify the proper records or found documents that were incomprehensible.