State Auditor Mike Foley has released an audit critical of the Department of Revenue for allowing Nebraska Lottery employees to play golf during working hours.
“I think the taxpayers of Nebraska expect employees to put in a full-time schedule and not be out on the golf course and charging that off as work,” Foley states.
Foley questions the relationship between some Nebraska Lottery employees and vendors, saying that the audit disclosed employees have been given expensive meals, movie tickets as well as tickets to sporting events from vendors.
State Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald says the relationships developed greatly benefit the state.
“Nine consecutive years of record sales, the most efficient lottery in the nation when they’re on a per capita basis on sales, the second higher per capita growth in sales over the last five years,” Nebraska Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald. “This is what the lottery was set up to do and that’s get money for the beneficiaries.”
Still, Foley says some perks passed along by vendors to lottery employees seem excessive.
“Very expensive meals and trips to golf tournaments, movie passes and sports tickets and so forth,” Foley says. “And we’ve taken exception to this over the years and it just never seems to get addressed. In fact, I think this year might have even been worse.”
Ewald insists the activities can be fully justified.
“There’s nothing illegal that has been done there,” Ewald says. “Our lottery relationship with vendors saves the state quite a few dollars every year from that perspective and puts more money in the hands of the beneficiaries.”
As for the criticism that some lottery employees golfed during office hours, Ewald says they were assigned to play in the golf tournament.