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Sand says the auditor's office belongs to all Iowans

State Auditor Rob Sand speaks at 2022 State Fair
Michael Leland
Sand says his leadership team is made up of a Republican, a Democrat and an independent, and it has included people who have financially supported his 2018 opponent.

Rob Sand says he registered as an independent when he first registered to vote, and he doesn't believe any party has a monopoly on good ideas. In his first term as auditor, Sand says his leadership team has included a Republican, a Democrat and an independent.

“I don’t want a conversation where everyone is looking at something from the same angle, trying to decide what it is," Sand said Tuesday at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. "I want a conversation where people are having difference perspectives that they’re sharing with me so we can make sure we’re looking at something from every angle."

Sand was at the fair making his case for a second term in office, touting efforts like his PIE (Public Innovations and Efficiencies) program for state and local governments. He says officials in Mississippi contacted him about adopting the program in their state. Sand also touted the hiring of four staff with law enforcement backgrounds who could help his team's investigations stand up in court.

He told the small gathering at the fairgrounds that he wants an office that is able to help the state run more efficiently and hold people accountable when they try to steal taxpayers' money. And, Sand says, he wants all Iowans to feel that his office is looking out for them.

"I want you to come to our office, and I want you to tell me things that people in positions of trust and power have done wrong. And it doesn’t matter who they are, how they are registered, or who they vote for. We are going to take those complaints seriously," he said.

In May, Gov. Kim Reynolds told supporters at a campaign event that she wanted an auditor who wasn't trying to sue her every time they turned around. Sand has led several investigations into Reynolds' office, including its use of COVID-19 relief funds to pay staff salaries and purchase a software system. Reynolds' office returned that money in late 2020 after the U.S. Treasury Office of the Inspector General affirmed it was not an allowable use of CARES Act money. But Sand says his office has also led investigations that cast the Reynolds administration in a favorable light, like one earlier this year showing Iowa health officials had accurately reported COVID-19 data in the first year of the pandemic.

Sand faces a challenge from Republican Todd Halbur, who is scheduled to speak at the soapbox Saturday.

Michael Leland is IPR's News Director