A television ad by Sen. Rick Santorum implying that his opponent in the November election, former state Auditor General Bob Casey, did a poor job in his previous position is "simply not true," current Auditor General Jack Wagner said today in a Downtown press conference.
Mr. Wagner said the ad takes comments he made at a March 2005 state budget hearing about a backlog of audits in the department out of context. He said he called the press conference to "set the record straight" and prevent Mr. Santorum from using the ad "for his political gain."
The ad, he said "doesn't give justice to my statement. Bob Casey did a professional job as auditor general. The people of Pennsylvania know that and I'm here to state that today."
Mr. Wagner had testified at the hearing last year that there was a backlog of 839 audits when he succeeded Mr. Casey as auditor general. But he said he amplified that statement later, telling the hearing that the number of backlogged audits changes monthly.
He said the auditor general's office completes 5,000 audits annually on pension plans, school districts, volunteer fire departments, state prisons and liquor stores.
He said his office currently has a backlog of about 300 audits.
Mr. Wagner was Mr. Casey's running mate during the latter's unsuccessful 2002 gubernatorial campaign.
A call to Mr. Santorumn's Pittsburgh office was not immediately answered.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.