CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Del. and candidate for state auditor JB McCuskey is a big proponent of an Ohio website that has been named the top government transparency site in the country.
McCuskey visited Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel last week to learn more about Ohiocheckbook.com, which Mandel said keeps politicians honest by listing every dime of state government spending.
“Everything from $2 for a pack of pencils to millions of dollars to road contracts and everything in between,” Mandel said describing over $500 billion of transactions listed on the site. “I’m excited that JB wants to do this in West Virginia. I think we need transparency more and more because there’s a lot of crooked politicians out there in both parties. The best answer to crooked politicians is sunlight.”
McCuskey said the site has improved Ohio’s transparency rating from 47th to 1st, and has improved its bond rating. He thought a similar website is possible in the Mountain State, and promised to look into it if he was elected.
“I’m making a pledge that as soon as we can find out how to get this online, the citizens of West Virginia deserve to know how every single penny of their money is being spent,” he said.
McCuskey was of the opinion that having a website for residents to view government spending creates a watchdog role for citizens as to any corruption.
“What this really does is it creates 1.8 million auditors,” he said referring to the state population. “As Josh said, which is really well said, the greatest antidote to fraud is sunshine. If we can have an army of empowered citizens ensuring that the government is doing the right thing, we’re going to be able to fix the problems we have in West Virginia sooner rather than later.”
McCuskey said he’d reviewed the books and the budget to find savings to create a similar site. Mandel believed the Ohio site would eventually make the $814,000 cost to build it back.
“It’s now ranked the number one government transparency website in America. We think the thing will pay for itself in a year or two. It’s changing the behavior of the bureaucrats and the politicians.”
The GOP candidate McCuskey will take on Mary Ann Claytor, a Democrat, in the state auditor’s race in November.