Commentary: California inspector general wants unprecedented accountability for stimulus funds

State Inspector General Laura Chick fired off a strong warning Wednesday to anyone who might misuse the $50 billion in federal stimulus money that California is receiving. If you get any of that money, you're going to be watched closely to see that you spend it properly.

Chick emphasized her commitment to helping prosecute those who fraudulently use stimulus funds by standing with Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan, other prosecutors and various law enforcement officials on Wednesday. "I'm in the deterrence phase," Chick said. "Detection is next."

We like Chick's attitude, especially after we were told that the FBI estimates that 7% to 10% of the stimulus funds could be lost to fraud. That means that possibly $5 billion in stimulus funds coming into California will be scammed from taxpayers.

That's outrageous. Fortunately, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hired Chick, the former the Los Angeles city controller, to independently audit California's federal stimulus spending. In a meeting with The Bee's editorial board, Chick impressed us with her commitment to go after the abusers.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.