I think they are already being audited, but I think the issue is how the money is being spent and is it being spent judiciously. Many of the state lotteries are supposed to fund specific projects or causes—senior citizen programs, education or scholarships, and so on. I think this is all great, but when you’re dealing with the amount of money generated by the lotteries for these programs there is bound to be fraud and waste. I have long preached against fraud and waste in both government and the private sector, but sadly to no avail most of the time. I do believe that each of these state lottery programs should face very difficult scrutiny in how the funds are spent. That’s not to say that we should consider every scholarship awarded or every senior center built. We need to make sure that the stewards of these programs aren’t wasting money on unneeded centers or fraudulent scholarships. We need to make sure that the programs aren’t being manipulated by special interests. The site of senior center shouldn’t be decided by a politician or the landholder. Administrative costs and salaries should be minimized whenever possible. I’m not suggesting we micromanage, but I’m suggesting we have stringent oversight of the overall programs and how the money is allocated to projects. Overall, politicians should never dictate how the funds are spent and shouldn’t even have a hand in the process. The oversight should be handled by independent bodies comprised of normal citizens who don’t have any special interests and audited by independent accountants and independent government watchdogs. It’s probably idealistic, and I know that. There’s a lot of money at stake, and that money does a lot of good. But that money can do a lot more good and can go a lot further if we don’t allow it to be misappropriated and misused.
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