The legal authority of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA) may be found in Article 3, Section 11 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, and Louisiana Revised Statutes (R.S.) 24:511 – 559. The revised statutes in Title 24 that pertain to the Legislative Auditor (LLA) are collectively called "the audit law."
A frequently asked questions document regarding the audit law may be found on LLA’s website.
The following is a summary of those provisions of the audit law that are most relevant for the purposes of the Louisiana Governmental Audit Guide.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:513 provides for the powers and duties of LLA relative to the audits and other financial reports of entities that must report to it. Specific provisions include:
- Definition of the state agencies, and local government agencies and quasi-public organizations (local auditees) that are required to report to LLA
- The scope, form, content, and frequency of these reports
- LLA’s authorization to accept the reports of a licensed and approved certified public accountant (CPA) in lieu of LLA performing the audits and other engagements of state agencies and local auditees
- LLA’s and approved CPA’s access to the records of and assistance from state agencies and local auditees
- Publication of the Louisiana Governmental Audit Guide
- Penalties for violations of this statute
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:513.4 provides for the reporting to LLA by certain nonprofit organizations that receive disaster relief funds; and authorizes LLA’s access to the books and records of these organizations.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:514 provides for the following:
- The form and content of the sworn annual financial statements required to be submitted to LLA by state agencies and local auditees that have not filed an approved audit engagement agreement with LLA by sixty days after the close of the entity’s fiscal year
- Annual financial statements of the state of Louisiana and local auditees are to be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, with an exception for those local auditees that cannot issue bonded debt
- Public retirement systems are to provide annual actuarial valuations to LLA
- School boards are to provide schedules of performance and statistical data in their audit reports.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:515 authorizes LLA to prescribe the form in which the accounts of public funds shall be kept; and requires state agencies and local auditees to maintain records of their fixed assets and provide them to LLA or CPA performing their audit or other engagement upon request.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:515.1 provides for LLA to develop a uniform system of reporting major sources of revenues and expenditures for district public defenders.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:516 provides that LLA will file copies of reports it releases with the governor, attorney general, and the clerk of court of the parish in which the agency is domiciled. LLA will also file copies of reports that disclose alleged criminal acts with the district attorney. This provision of the audit law also requires parish governing authorities and other tax recipient bodies to notify LLA in writing whenever any sheriff is delinquent in his (ad valorem tax) settlements.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:516.1 requires LLA to notify the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget of any finding in any report issued by LLA relative to waste or inefficiencies in government, missed revenue collections, erroneous or improper payments or overpayments by the state, theft of money, misappropriations of funds, or other conditions provided for in R.S. 24:516.1 A. and B that has a dollar impact of $150,000 or more.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:517.3 authorizes LLA to contract with a licensed CPA to perform each state agency audit that LLA does not have the resources to audit.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:518 provides for fines, imprisonment and removal from office for public officials and employees of state and local auditees who fail to provide records or other assistance to LLA as enumerated in this provision of the law. Also provides for consequences to any local auditee agency head who for three consecutive years has provided an audit report with a disclaimer of opinion to LLA.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:519 requires a state agency’s or local auditee’s management to provide a plan of remedial action for findings and management letter comments included in any report issued by LLA; and provides for actions to be taken by the district attorney when an audit report issued by LLA discloses illegalities or fraud.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:523 requires an agency head of an auditee who has actual knowledge of or reasonable cause to believe that there has been a misappropriation of public funds or assets of his agency to immediately notify, in writing, LLA and the district attorney of the parish in which the agency is domiciled.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:523.1 requires every auditee to post, in a conspicuous place upon its premises, a notice with information concerning the reporting of misappropriation, fraud, waste or abuse of public funds to LLA.
Louisiana Revised Statute 24:554 (B)provides that if a local auditee fails for three consecutive years and without appropriate cause to sufficiently resolve findings contained in its annual financial reports submitted to LLA, the Legislative Audit Advisory Council may direct the State Treasurer to withhold funds to the local auditee.
- What type of books and records must a local auditee provide to LLA?
- What types of assistance must a local auditee provide to LLA?
- Does LLA have the authority to force an agency to correct its findings?