NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Tennessee Democrat is requesting the Treasury Department perform an audit of one office in the governor’s administration.
Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chair John Ray Clemmons (D—Nashville) sent a letter to Jason E. Mumpower, Comptroller of the Treasury, requesting the department perform an audit of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
“Given that the office receives in excess of one million dollars of public funds and unelected political appointees control those funds, it is imperative for Tennesseans to know whether such a large sum of funds is being appropriately handled and used to conduct business that was represented to the Tennessee General Assembly,” Clemmons said in his letter.
The office was established by Gov. Bill Lee in 2019. At that time, he said government was not the only solution to issues plaguing Tennesseans and faith and community solutions also helped. The office partners with nonprofits, business leaders and the faith community to serve Tennesseans in need, according to the governor’s office.
Earlier this year, the legislature passed a bill that would allow the office to use more taxpayer dollars as opposed to relying on the partner nonprofit agencies’ own funds. Then when the governor revealed his budget for this year, it included $1.2 million in recurring funding.
According to John Dunn, Director of Communications for the Comptroller’s Office, the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is administratively attached to the Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration, meaning it “may be reviewed as part of either a sunset or financial audit of that department.”
He also told News 2 that the Comptroller’s Office “takes all such requests from legislators seriously” and was “currently evaluating the request.”
The request is also not an anomaly, Dunn said, as the office has received numerous requests from legislators to “audit, investigate, or review various state and local government entities and practices” over the years.