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HomeNewsAudit Reveals Sarah Sanders’ Office Potentially Broke the Law in $19k Lectern...

Audit Reveals Sarah Sanders’ Office Potentially Broke the Law in $19k Lectern Controversy

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SARAH-SANDER
Source: Reddit

Sarah Huckabee Sanders` office was made available for viewing on Tuesday night- after a monthslong audit into how the lectern was procured and paid for found that Sanders` staff potentially violated several state laws.

Lawmakers questioned Sanders’ staff about the audit’s findings in a nearly three-hour hearing at the state Capitol after the report was sent to prosecuting attorneys.

Sanders’ deputy chief of staff, Judd Deere, told lawmakers that she plans to use the lectern now that the audit is complete; previously, she had not wanted it to be a distraction.

Deere told lawmakers the lectern had been in the governor’s office suite at the state Capitol but it was moved Tuesday to a larger conference room, where reporters were again allowed to see it.

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Despite seven “areas of noncompliance” identified in the audit report where the governor’s office potentially violated state laws regarding purchasing, state property, and government records, Deere said no members of the governor’s staff were disciplined for their actions- “nor should they be,” he added.

Auditors identified seven “areas of potential noncompliance with state law” that the governor’s office engaged in, including a member of the governor’s office staff shredding the bill of lading for the lectern. The bill of lading contained details of the shipment and was attached to the delivery crate, potentially violating document retention laws.

Auditors also reported that, at the direction of the governor`s deputy chief of staff, an executive assistant added handwritten notes that read “to be reimbursed” on two invoices after Campbell, the blogger, asked for documents surrounding the lectern’s purchase in a Freedom of Information Act request.

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According to the audit report, neither Sanders, who previously said she welcomed the audit, nor the lectern vendors cooperated with the probe.

Virginia Beckett and Hannah Stone of Beckett Events did not respond to repeated attempts from auditors to contact them via telephone, certified mail, and email, the report said, nor did New York-based Miller’s Presentation Furniture, which manufactured the lectern, according to the audit.

Chief legal counsel for the governor’s office told lawmakers Tuesday she sent two emails to Beckett Events.

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Only after Campbell sought additional information about the five-figure purchase with taxpayer dollars was it reimbursed by the state`s Republican Party, with auditors reporting “there was no indication the governor’s office was seeking reimbursement for the cost of the podium and the road case” before the requests.

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The governor’s deputy chief of staff, however, told lawmakers Tuesday that it was later decided that it would be “preferable” for the lectern to be paid for with private funds via the state Republican Party.

While auditors said they were ultimately unable to determine the podium’s reasonable cost due to its “custom specifications,” “lack of vendor responses,” and “lack of documentation,” they hinted at its high price compared to similar-style lecterns on the market.

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