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McCuskey: State auditor worthy of another term

It is a shame West Virginians have become so familiar with crooked officials in state and local government. But we have a watchdog on guard against them, and he has demonstrated his determination many times during recent years.

State Auditor John “J.B.” McCuskey is running for re-election Nov. 3. Mountain State voters should keep him in office because we need the kind of focused, innovative approach he takes to keeping local government honest.

As we have pointed out in the past, theft of taxpayers’ money by government officials is exposed on a regular basis. But reading about a case here, a case there can give us the false impression that fraud by officials is relatively rare.

It is not. McCuskey’s office is the state’s lead agency in exposing misbehavior by public officials. Audits performed by the office sometimes expose theft not suspected previously. On other occasions, auditors acting on tips find proof of misdeeds that had been suspected.

How common is the problem? Just a few months ago, McCuskey commented that his office was investigating 55 active cases involving fraud or embezzlement by government employees or officials.

Yes, 55 at one time, involving about $5 million in misused taxpayers’ money.

The statistic demonstrates both the need for an active state auditor and McCuskey’s doggedness in exposing culprits.

McCuskey’s innovations are helping all West Virginians get involved in spotting crooks in office. One still-new tool is his West Virginia Checkbook website, which allows the public to check up on how, line item by line item, local government entities are spending our money. Thus far, 19 counties have signed up for the program. More are on the way.

We endorse McCuskey for re-election as West Virginia state auditor, and urge voters to cast ballots for him in the Nov. 3 election. West Virginia needs someone so dedicated to keeping public officials honest.

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