In a surprise announcement, State Auditor Brian Sonntag has decided to retire at the end of his term in 2012. From his email:

“In the past week, I made a difficult decision not to seek re-election as Washington State Auditor in 2012. It was a tough call, but it is the right decision. At the end of my current term, I will have served 20 years in this Office and 40 years in public service – 35 in elected office. Based on what we has accomplished and what we will continue to do in behalf of citizens, the 2012 election is the right time for the Office to transition to new leadership. During my service as State Auditor, I am proud that we have become strong advocates for Washington taxpayers. We raised the visibility and enhanced the credibility of the Office, brought national recognition to our work, put the audit focus on the most risky areas, vigorously pursued fraud, seized on performance audit authority, engaged the public, and advocated giving citizens greater access to their government. My personal thanks to you for recognizing the value of this Office and the constitutional role it must play. You helped make citizens aware of what audit can do to make government work better for all of us.


Based on his statewide appeal and effectiveness, Sonntag was in the unique position of being able to serve as State Auditor for life.

Here are the vote totals for Sonntag’s races for State Auditor:

  • 2008 – 63.54%
  • 2004 – 63.89%
  • 2000 – 57.63%
  • 1996 – 64.17%
  • 1992 – 50.07%

Under his leadership and advocacy, open government reforms took center stage and the long overdue authority for the citizens’ independently elected auditor to conduct comprehensive performance audits was finally restored. His efforts to improve government accountability casts a long shadow that will continue to be seen for years to come.

Perhaps the best legacy Sonntag will leave the next State Auditor is the hard fought for accountability toolbox with which to continue to improve government’s performance and safeguarding of taxpayer resources.


[Reprinted from the Washington Policy Center blog]