LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- After a lively meeting at the audit meeting Monday when a treasurer staffer asked to be covered under the Whistle Blower Act, we dive deeper into this law.
The state continues to investigate Treasurer Martha Shoffner after her office sold and bought bonds before maturity. A surprising response from Schoffner's Chief Investments Officer Autumn Sanson.
"I have to ask if I will be covered under the whistle blower act?" says Sanson.
Attorney and lawmaker Senator Jeremy Hutchinson says the only person who can definitively answer her is a judge. But according to the law, she's protected if she has information that public funds were abused and she notified her boss, Shoffner.
"That's why it's important the lady who said she had told the treasurer not to make these investments. The treasurer disputed that she hadn't," says Hutchinson.
UALR Law Interim Dean Paula Casey says there are limitations on how information is reported.
"If a public employee knows about wrongdoing, reporting it to a newspaper or television, well that's not covered under the law," says Casey.
In a summary, the whistleblowing must be truthful, impact the public's safety or welfare, and the employee must have given ample time for the employer to correct their actions.
"There is a fact question if she did give the treasurer timely notice for her to make corrective measures," says Hutchinson.
Shoffner never did answer lawmakers why she bought and sold bonds before reaching maturity. The audit says the treasury lost $58 thousand over that investment practice.
THV's Pam Baccam invited Shoffner to speak on camera today. She sent this statement:
"Thank you for inviting me to interview with you this evening. However, I am out of the office today and cannot be available to talk with you. As I stated to the press, this office has addressed the issues contained in Legislative Audit's report and we look forward to working with them, DF&A, and the State Board of Finance on these matters."