Earlier this year state lawmakers inserted last-minute language into the budget for the State Auditor’s Office which requires that the state Auditor come begging to the Legislature for permission to perform audits.

That’s created a lot of controversy, including an effort to collect signatures to refer the legislation to the ballot box. Our current Auditor Josh Gallion – a Republican who has ruffled some feathers with an aggressive approach to performance reviews of executive branch offices and higher education – asked Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (also a Republican) for an opinion about the legislation.

Today Stenehjem issued that opinion, and found it’s likely unconstitutional.

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