The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to consider an appeal from State Auditor Rebecca Otto, who is challenging a state law she believes limits the powers of her office.
The state’s highest court said Tuesday that it would consider the case involving a 2015 law that allows Minnesota counties to use private audit firms instead of the State Auditor’s Office. Otto sued three counties that have hired private auditors, arguing the practice is unconstitutional. Two lower courts did not agree that the law should be overturned, though they did find that auditing is a core function of Otto’s office. She has pledged to keep challenging the law.
In a statement Tuesday, Otto, a DFLer, thanked the Supreme Court for taking up the issue, saying the move “affirms that there is still dispute over whether the county audit law enacted in 2015 is constitutional.”
“As I have said all along, I swore an oath to uphold the Minnesota Constitution and protect Minnesota taxpayers,” she added. “I will continue to uphold that oath.”
Otto’s legal battle has drawn criticism from some state lawmakers, including Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, the chairwoman of the House State Government Finance Committee, who has called it a “waste of taxpayer’s money.” To date, Otto’s office has spent just short of $252,000 challenging the law.
Otto is serving in her third term as auditor and is currently a candidate for governor. On the campaign trail, she has defended her efforts to block the law — as she did Tuesday on Twitter after the Supreme Court said it would hear her appeal.
“It’s my duty and obligation to see this through,” she wrote.
Erin Golden • 612-673-4790