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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
18 Mar 2023
Joe Battenfeld

NextImg:Battenfeld: Is Diana DiZoglio an effective auditor or loose cannon?

Auditor Diana DiZoglio is heading down a treacherous political road filled with landmines and seems more bent on getting revenge on her critics and the Legislature than producing any real results.

DiZoglio’s latest gambit – a plan to audit all non-disclosure agreements throughout state government – could expose the state to massive legal damages and is unlikely to win a court challenge.

DiZoglio herself was subject to an NDA when she was a legislative aide and fired from her job but now her goal to audit all NDAs in state government is overly ambitious and potentially dangerous.

Do people who had to sign NDAs really want lowly government bureaucrats to look into their personal lives and potentially resurrect embarrassing information that could hurt their careers?

There is no way the Legislature will cooperate with her audits, assuring that she’ll lose and look ineffectual and overly political, wasting millions of dollars and producing no results.

And if she goes to court she’ll probably lose.

DiZoglio has definitely got Beacon Hill’s attention, but maybe not in the way she wants. She looks more like a loose cannon politician than an effective auditor.

Her wide-ranging plan to audit the MBTA and Massachusetts Convention Center Authority – rather than specific contracts or programs – looks more like political grandstanding than anything else and is more than her relatively small office can handle.

There are certainly some big fat targets at the T that could use auditing, and that’s what DiZoglio should concentrate on. But her auditors have no expertise on transportation safety.

And there’s no doubt that non-disclosure agreements should not be used in state government, but is it really wise to dig them up now in an effort to score political points or exact some kind of personal vendetta?

“As a senator I was able to advocate for accountability around the abuse of those non-disclosure agreements and advocate for ending the use of taxpayer dollars to silence victims of harassment, discrimination, and abuse and protect powerful perpetrators like politicians who may be abusing in some way or their staff,” DiZoglio said Wednesday on the Audrey Hall Show.

She said all areas of state government, including state agencies, the administration, the Legislature and even the auditor’s office were all potential targets.

Sounds good, but realistic? No.

DiZoglio’s predecessor, Suzanne Bump, concluded that auditing NDAs throughout state government was “not feasible.”

Senate President Karen Spilka, who feuded with DiZoglio when she was a state senator, has reacted cooly to the auditor’s new pronouncements and potential audits.

Spilka has argued that the “separation of powers clause” prevents DiZoglio from digging into state Senate business.

But now that she’s in a state office, DiZoglio is flexing her muscles at Spilka and others to challenge their power.

But rather than focus on legitimate targets, like investigating the Legislature’s secretive ways, committee assignments and non-transparency, DiZoglio is acting more like just another politician out for revenge.

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