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The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Hidden Funds - Corruption 2, Taxpayers 0

Yet again California state officials are found to be hiding money while continuing to plead they need more from the taxpayers of the state.  This time, the till is controlled by CalFire and the hidden money was controlled by the California District Attorneys Association.

Let me see if I can get this straight ---

Money is collected by the state from private property owners to cover the costs of fighting fires.

The state turns to a non-government entity (California District Attorneys Association) to manage the money.

This arrangement went on for more than seven years.

But, it was "only" $3.6 million.

An audit and full investigation are promised.  There is an interesting difference between this slush fund the the California Department of Parks and Recreation slush fund.  This time the District Attorney's are directly involved in the hiding of money.  I am sure a full investigation will reveal the truth.

The current score: Golden State Corruption - 2, Golden State Taxpayers - 0

The Sacramento Bee's past stands:

"It seems awfully premature to conclude there was no crime. The attorney general's probe, however limited, found that several high-ranking state parks officials committed 'conscious and deliberate' acts to hide the money for as long as 13 years. The state's Penal Code says that it is a felony for government officials to knowingly keep a false account of public money."

Sacramento Bee Editorial: Cal Fire burns taxpayers by hiding our money

A second state department is caught hiding money. Once again, there will be an audit, a legislative hearing and no doubt a "full" investigation.  While full details are emerging, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection concealed $3.66 million that should have gone into the general fund.

Its arrogance underscores the larger issue: The money doesn't belong to some bureaucrat with a badge. It belongs to the people.

In a budget that exceeds $130 billion, $3.6 million might be considered dust. Dust or not, the money didn't belong to Cal Fire bureaucrats – as they knew, according to internal documents. The money should have been deposited in the general fund, for the benefit of the entire state.

Read more from the Sacramento Bee

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