Under authority granted by the California Whistleblower Protection Act, the California State Auditor conducts investigations into improper governmental activities by state agencies and employees in connection with the performance of their duties. An "improper governmental activity" is any action that: violates a state or federal law, an executive order of the Governor, a Rule of Court, the State Administrative Manual, or the State Contracting Manual; is economically wasteful; or involves gross misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency. The State Auditor conducts investigations in response to complaints received from state employees and members of the public or on the State Auditorís own initiative. The State Auditor receives complaints by telephone, mail, and facsimile, and through this Web site. Complainants have a right to remain confidential. Typically, the State Auditor will receive more than 4,000 complaints per year.

While the California State Auditor lacks enforcement powers, the State Auditor is authorized to report publicly on the results of any investigation that substantiates an improper governmental activity has occurred. The State Auditor may make recommendations to a state department when reporting on an investigation to address the reported improper activity and prevent it from recurring. Approximately twice per year, the State Auditor issues a public report summarizing the results of investigations that have been conducted during the previous months, and provides updates on the actions that have been taken by state departments in response to previously reported investigations, including what the departments have done to implement the State Auditor's recommendations. The State Auditor also may issue special reports detailing the results of an individual investigation when the findings of the investigation are particularly significant. The semi-annual investigative reports also contain statistical information regarding the number of complaints received and the number of investigations performed by the State Auditor. View investigative reports.