California Attorney General Xavier Becerra indicated Sunday that he has no plans on opening his own probe of the University of California following a scathing audit of the office of UC President Janet Napolitano.
The audit claimed Napolitano had maintained an undisclosed reserve of $175 million dollars while seeking a tuition hike from students.
In an interview on NBC4, Becerra appeared to distance himself from the controversy indicating it was an issue for the California legislature.
"I think it is appropriate for the state legislature to closely examine the audit … I believe the president of the UC system will continue to come forward with information; I think we have to get to the bottom of this," he said on NBC4’s "News Conference" program.
State auditor Elaine Howle indicated the 10-campus University administration had been overpaying many of its managers and criticized Napolitano’s office for a lack of cooperation in the financial audit.
Any formal investigation of the office of the UC president would likely involve questioning of the UC Regents who are responsible for fiscal oversight of the University. Many members of the board are political allies of the Attorney General including Richard Bloom, the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Governor Jerry Brown, who appointed Becerra to his current office, as well as Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Becerra said politics was not a consideration.
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"I will go after any entity that is taking advantage of the California public," he stated.
The Attorney General said he has concerns about the state’s rising crime rate and the impact of several measures that have released thousands of convicted felons back into society. One of those ballot measures, Proposition 47, reduced penalties for many drug crimes while promising more money for treatment programs.
"I have not seen the state make the commitment it needs to for rehabilitation," he said. "There are clear signs that fewer people are taking advantage of drug rehabilitation than we would like."
Becerra would not say if he would run for US Senate if incumbent Dianne Feinstein decides not to seek another term. The Attorney General did, however, make a personal reference when asked if it was time an Hispanic was elected to the Senate from California.
"We will get to the point that everyone of every walk of life, including a kid who’s dad didn’t make it past the 6th grade, who’s the first (in his family) to get a four year college degree … will have those opportunities."