HARRISBURG — Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks) said that at the May 30 Capitol press conference, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale confirmed his long-held concern that fiscal mismanagement at the Pennsylvania Game Commission has deeply harmed the interests of Pennsylvania’s sportsmen, the very people they are tasked with serving.
DePasquale released the results of a three-year financial audit of the commission in which he found that the commission is sitting on $72.8 million, plus seven escrow accounts — one containing $6.5 million in addition to the $72.8 million — that the game commission's chief financial officer did not know even existed.
“This audit resulted in 43 recommendations of changes that need to be made at the game commission, the most this auditor general has ever recommended,” Maloney said. “That alone should be cause for further inquiry, but we also heard the auditor general himself say that even if the Pennsylvania Game Commission implements all his recommendations the commission 'needs independent oversight going forward.’”
DePasquale’s audit also found that the commission’s shoddy management of mineral rights allows gas and oil companies to essentially dictate what they pay for leases on state game lands.
“We found out today that they are sitting on $72.8 million dollars and yet they continuously come to lawmakers asking for a fee increase,” Maloney said. “What does it say about a government body charged with managing 1.5 million acres of wildlife and habitat when they can’t even manage their own finances?”
Maloney said he will be calling on the House Government Oversight Committee to use the audit as a start for further investigations into the finances and activities of the game commission.
“The auditor general said that this audit demonstrated the ‘potential for theft of funds,’” Maloney said. “When you are talking about accounting mismanagement in the tens of millions of dollars, either it is intentional or incompetence — in either case, it warrants further investigation.”