Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Monday that would fine individuals who knowingly interfere with state audits.
Assembly Bill 562, which takes effect Jan. 1, adds on to current law and states that anyone who obstructs a California state audit with intent to deceive or defraud will be fined up to $5,000.
Under the new law, a state agency also has to create a commission for the purposes of allowing the California state auditor to access specified documents.
California state legislators amended the bill in June after a state audit report in April showed administrators from the University of California Office of the President intentionally interfered with the California state audit process regarding campuses’ perspectives on programs provided by UCOP.
The report added UCOP screened the campuses’ survey responses and that statements that were initially critical had been removed or revised to be more positive.
UCOP responded in a statement that the office only helped facilitate the process of finding individuals who were best positioned to answer particular questions.
Current law regarding state audits requires any state or local entity to grant auditors access to specified documents such as records of bank accounts, reports and files, and makes it a misdemeanor for any individual who refuses access.