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Republicans call for transparency in Connecticut's COVID-19 relief spending

Jessica Hill

Connecticut Republicans are pushing for transparency in the state’s spending of billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief money and transportation infrastructure funding.

Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said members of the GOP minority are concerned after two state audits revealed local misappropriation of federal COVID relief money in West Haven and questionable school construction spending by the state.

“In both instances it demonstrated to the people we serve that their government needs to be accountable to them because they work hard for their money." Kelly said. "Yes they do. They work very hard for their money and that needs to be respected."

In West Haven, a local state lawmaker was convicted, and the state official who was in charge of school construction lost his job.

The Republican minority proposes establishing a state Chief Accountability Office.

The office would provide transparency for billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funding and transportation infrastructure money, said state Senator Eric Berthel of Watertown, the ranking GOP member on the Appropriations Committee.

“The money that we spend here doesn’t belong to the governor or the legislature. It's money from the people," Berthal said. "It’s taxpayer dollars. And we have a responsibility and we are asking for our government to be more accountable and more transparent in how we spend that money."

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.