State Auditor Rob Sand is trying too hard. And I’m not talking about his Twitter feed, where Sand carefully shapes his image by tweeting about breakfast pizza and Decorah hot spots. 

The State Auditor, motivated by politics and a lust for publicity – and higher office – is attacking the Test Iowa program administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Iowa National Guard (ING). 

The Test Iowa program has been validated by the State Hygienic Lab, which is run out of the University of Iowa.

Iowa Auditor, Rob Sand 


Sand calls the program’s reporting process illegal. His former boss, the Attorney General of Iowa Tom Miller, the most senior statewide elected Democrat, says it’s legal. Miller’s Office specifically stated that the State Hygienics Lab “has been reporting all COVID-19 results, including the Test Iowa results, in a manner that complies with state code.”

The Attorney General further says that “implementing the Auditor’s recommendations would require the State Hygienic Laboratory to manually re-enter Test Iowa data, leading to increased burdens on the Lab and delays in reporting.”

Sand also claims the program is problematic because IDPH is the fourth entity to receive information about Test Iowa. He calls it “inefficient.” So who receives the data before the IDPH? The data warehouse that is responsible for housing and presenting it for public consumption. Sand’s prescription seems to be that the IDPH should hand-enter this data, which would cost taxpayers a substantial sum of time and money (and almost certainly result in more errors). Does hand entry of data by the IDPH sound efficient to you? As the Attorney General said: No. 

It’s pretty clear Iowa shouldn’t follow Rob Sand down his latest rabbit hole, his archaic approach to a pandemic response that would only burden the lab and the individuals responsible for combatting a global pandemic.

And this isn’t the first time our esteemed Auditor wasted everyone’s time. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported thatSand’s audit of the state’s Medicaid contracts are “similar to other states” after spending months hyping his “watchdog” role in search of a problem.

Iowans are better off remembering State Auditor Dave Vaudt, as a public servant more concerned with carrying out the duties of the office than looking to climb to a higher branch on the tree. Politics aside, Vaudt was an exemplary auditor, and well qualified too. He employed a very even-keeled approach to auditing. Rob Sand, on the other hand, likes to pretend that he’s a moderate who sees all the sides, but all he’s really doing is proving beyond a doubt that he wants to weaponize the auditor’s office. He would have it be another tool Democrats use against Republicans. It’s malpractice and the Iowa media and reporters should stop taking the bait.