Policy Produces Rare Coup

Michael Busler
4 min readNov 4, 2022

Republican in California Earns Endorsements of Every Major Newspaper

In a rare and perhaps unprecedented accomplishment in modern times, a Republican statewide political candidate earned the endorsement of every major newspaper in

California. His name is Lanhee Chen, and he is running for state controller, an elected office that is nearly as powerful as the governor’s because it has various instruments with which to hold government accountable to taxpayers.

Some such instruments are the authority to audit government spending and expose waste by providing taxpayers with accurate and timely financial disclosures. But California’s current controller, Democrat Betty Yee, has been unwilling or unable to hold state agencies accountable. Her office has not produced an annual comprehensive financial report since the statement for the fiscal year ending in June 2020. To put this in perspective, imagine a publicly held company that is two years delinquent in producing its annual 10-K report. Its last report earned modified auditor opinions of “qualified” and “disclaimer of opinion”, meaning there were both material and pervasive misstatements. For public companies, such reporting could deal a death blow, causing a crash in stock price and losing shareholder confidence. Yet this is exactly what’s going on with California’s finances, and the state is unlikely to release its 2020–2021 financials before the midterm election.

In response, major news outlets throughout California — from the Los Angeles Times to the San Francisco Chronicle — have endorsed Chen, a fiscal advisor who has deep expertise in financial and quantitative analysis. They tout Chen’s qualifications, but they also insist that a controller with the same party affiliation as the party in power would present a conflict of interest.

Chen says he is seeking the controller role because he’s itching to put his problem-solving skills to work for a state suffering from the highest gas prices and poverty rate in the country, coupled with record homelessness and crime. These outcomes occurred despite record state tax revenues generated from capital gains before and during the pandemic. Chen contends that the problems can be traced to an inept and bloated government tribe more motivated by justifying their jobs than being accountable…

--

--

Michael Busler

Dr. Busler is an economist and a public policy analyst. He is a Professor of Finance at Stockton University. His op-ed columns appear in Townhall, Newsmax.