The audit comes after Bentley himself requested it saying “potentially criminal” actions took place in the state Department of Finance, and is expected to cover allegations of improper access to criminal justice databases.
Bentley admitted on June 10 that contract personnel working for the Finance Department’s Information Services Division (ISD) were “improperly given access to IT resources” supporting ALEA and the state’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) network.
“(ALEA) Secretary (Stan) Stabler informed me that ALEA has met with members of the Office of the United States Attorney here in Montgomery and confirmed that some of the actions of senior managers within the Department of Finance and its Information Services Division are potentially criminal in nature,” the governor wrote in his request.
Bentley’s letter to the FBI also stated there were “several major security concerns” with the state’s wide area network (WAN).
“Since honesty and integrity are two virtues that I have and will continue to prioritize for my Administration, I was very disheartened to know that the improper actions of a few appear to have had a significant negative impact on the security of the state’s technology resources, especially those serving our criminal justice community,” Bentley said.
In light of Bentley’s discoveries, one Department of Finance official was fired and another suspended by the governor the same month.
Bentley fired Department director James Nolin, who was still in a probationary period, and placed Assistant Finance Director Rex McDowell on mandatory leave.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler says “the FBI audit can help clear the air on questionable activities of the Bentley Finance Department.”
Zeigler has a lawsuit against Bentley and Acting Finance Director Bill Newton alleging their $47 million STAARS software contract violated the state’s bid laws and that the software does not work. A hearing is set Sept. 21 in the suit. -30-