Government

Former assistant Attorney General running for Iowa auditor

'We need someone in there who will wake up the watchdog,' he says

Rob Sand
Rob Sand

Former state prosecutor Rob Sand is running for State Auditor in 2018, he said Monday, because he doesn’t think the office is properly handling investigations into financial crimes and public corruption, which he believes are rising in Iowa.

“I have prosecuted more individuals based on those special reports in the last decade than anyone in Iowa,” said Sand, a 35-year-old Democrat who resigned as an assistant Iowa Attorney General this fall to run for the auditor’s office.

As they have in the past, Republicans are arguing that the auditor should be a certified public accountant.

“Not only does Sand lack that experience, he’s failing the math portion of the auditor test, as he’s stumbling out of the gate citing inaccurate numbers regarding the budget,” Republican Party of Iowa spokesman Carlos Cruz said Monday. He was referring to Sand’s claim that GOP incumbent Mary Mosiman called the state budget “balanced” and “responsible.”

“Mary Mosiman is a CPA with over a decade of finance experience, and in her time as our taxpayer watchdog she’s identified millions in waste, fraud and abuse,” Cruz said.

Sand doesn’t think the Auditor’s Office needs another CPA.

“There are about 30 CPAs in that office now. They’ve got that job covered,” he said. “But there is no one with any experience prosecuting financial crime. You tell me whether you need a CPA or a financial prosecutor to deliver more value for Iowans.”

What it needs is new leadership, according to Sand. Based on what he’s seen from Mosiman’s office, Sand believes she “doesn’t understand the importance of having a law enforcement professional’s perspective when they start the investigation.”

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Too often, Sand said, the auditor has had to reopen investigations because his criminal investigation uncovered additional wrongdoing.

“We need someone in there who will wake up the watchdog,” said Sand, who will challenge Mosiman in 2108.

Mosiman, a former Story County auditor, was elected auditor in 2014 after being appointed to the post when David Vaudt resigned.

Sand, a graduate of Brown University and the University of Iowa Law School, has prosecuted a variety of financial crimes and corruption cases.

Most recently, he led the nationwide lottery-fixing investigation that uncovered seven fixed lottery tickets across five states. The lead defendant, Eddie Tipton, now is in prison for up to 25 years. The defendants have agreed to repay the money they stole.

Sand was born and raised in Decorah. He and his wife, Christine, have two young sons.

The auditor is elected to a four-year term and paid $103,000 a year.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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