Montana Public Radio

Survey Gauges Waste, Fraud In Montana Government

Oct 24, 2019

A survey released this month says one in five state employees in Montana are aware of unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenses squandering government resources.

The state Legislative Audit Division says 19 percent of state workers that responded to their survey said they had first-hand knowledge of waste of state government resources in the agencies they work for.

The survey also found that five percent of respondents said they were aware of fraud, which is a more deliberate criminal activity.

The survey, made up of more than 1,600 state employees’ responses, is part of an audit report prepared for the Legislative Audit Committee’s meeting next week.

Angus Maciver, director of the Legislative Audit Division, says the vast majority of allegations that come through the office’s tip line don’t go anywhere because of lack of evidence.

"If we’re substantiating somewhere in the region of, you know, 5 to 10 percent of these, we consider that to be normal."

Maciver says the survey aims to raise awareness among state employees about the audit division’s fraud, waste or abuse hotline.

Montana Legislative Audit Division fraud reporting resources.

According to Deb Butler, legal council for the division, the office was surprised about how many state employees in the survey were unaware that the hotline existed.

"Now that they know, they’re willing to call the hotline."

According to the audit survey, more than 97 percent of people with first-hand knowledge of fraud, waste or abuse in the last two years did not report it to the Legislative Audit Division Hotline.

Around 13 percent of people said they didn’t report those instances to any official source.