For years the Governor’s Energy Office has operated in the shadows. As an “off budget” agency, it has spent millions of dollars with virtually no transparency or accountability. A newly-released paper titled “Governor’s Energy Office Needs a Dose of Sunshine” from intern Kyle Huwa examines three years worth of GEO expenditures, a time period where the agency was flush with stimulus cash courtesy of taxpayers from Colorado and across the country.
Kyle tried to make sense of nearly 18,000 individual line item expenditures. Despite his best efforts, the exact nature of many of the expenditures remains unclear.
Some of what he did find:
- Total Expenditures (minus some salaries) during this period: $121,652,884.75
- Expenditures that could not be identified and GEO did not clarify: $9,021,060.23
- Expenditures on cell phones: $51,629.22
- Expenditures on travel: $455,656.06
- Expenditures to corporate entities: $27,337,389.78
- GEO received $15,797,032.91 from the Colorado’s “General Fund – Unrestricted”
- “Off-budget” status means little legislative oversight
- GEO not cooperative in clarifying expenditures
Because taxpayers deserve better, Kyle suggests that the State of Colorado should take action to hold the GEO accountable for its spending. His suggestions include:
- The GEO should strive to provide more transparency by providing detailed expenditure information to all who seek it;
- The Colorado State Legislature should ask the Office of the State Auditor to conduct an audit of the GEO to ensure proper use of funding and adherence to its stated purpose;
- The Legislature should also consider structurally changing the long-term oversight measures in place to guarantee continued accountability and transparency in the GEO.
Kyle discusses his paper and experience researching the GEO with Amy Oliver on her show on News Talk 1310 KFKA.
All spreadsheets Kyle complied for the paper can be found on the Governor’s Energy Office Spreadsheet page.