147-64.7. Authority.

(a) Access to Persons and Records. -

(1) The Auditor and the Auditor's authorized representatives shall have ready access to persons and may examine and copy all books, records, reports, vouchers, correspondence, files, personnel files, investments, and any other documentation of any State agency. The review of State tax returns shall be limited to matters of official business and the Auditor's report shall not violate the confidentiality provisions of tax laws. Notwithstanding confidentiality provisions of tax laws, the Auditor may use and disclose information related to overdue tax debts in support of the Auditor's statutory mission.

(2) The Auditor and the Auditor's duly authorized representatives shall have such access to persons, records, papers, reports, vouchers, correspondence, books, and any other documentation which is in the possession of any individual, private corporation, institution, association, board, or other organization which pertain to:

a. Amounts received pursuant to a grant or contract from the federal government, the State, or its political subdivisions.

b. Amounts received, disbursed, or otherwise handled on behalf of the federal government or the State. In order to determine that payments to providers of social and medical services are legal and proper, the providers of such services will give the Auditor, or the Auditor's authorized representatives, access to the records of recipients who receive such services.

(3) The Auditor shall, for the purpose of examination and audit authorized by this act, have the authority, and will be provided ready access, to examine and inspect all property, equipment, and facilities in the possession of any State agency or any individual, private corporation, institution, association, board, or other organization which were furnished or otherwise provided through grant, contract, or any other type of funding by the State of North Carolina, or the federal government.

(4) All contracts or grants entered into by State agencies or political subdivisions shall include, as a necessary part, a clause providing access as intended by this section.

(5) The Auditor and his authorized agents are authorized to examine all books and accounts of any individual, firm, or corporation only insofar as they relate to transactions with any agency of the State.

(b) Experts; Contracted Audits. -

(1) The Auditor may obtain the services of independent public accountants, qualified management consultants, or other professional persons and experts as he deems necessary or desirable to carry out the duties and functions assigned under the act.

(2) No State agency may enter into any contract for auditing services which may impact on the State's comprehensive annual financial report without consultation with, and the prior written approval of, the Auditor, except in instances where audits are called for by the Governor under G.S. 143C-2-1 and he shall so notify the Auditor. The Auditor shall prescribe policy and establish guidelines containing appropriate criteria for selection and use of independent public accountants, qualified management consultants, or other professional persons by State agencies and governing bodies to perform all or part of the audit function.

(c) Authority to Administer Oaths, Subpoena Witnesses and Records, and Take Depositions. -

(1) For the purposes of this Article the Auditor or his authorized representative shall have the power to subpoena witnesses, to take testimony under oath, to cause the deposition of witnesses (residing within or without the State) to be taken in a manner prescribed by law, and to assemble records and documents, by subpoena or otherwise. The subpoena power granted by this section may be exercised only at the specific written direction of the Auditor or his chief deputy.

(2) In case any person shall refuse to obey a subpoena, the Auditor shall invoke the aid of any North Carolina court within the jurisdiction of which the investigation is carried on or where such person may be, in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements, and other records. Such court may issue an order requiring such person to appear before the Auditor or officers designated by the Auditor, there to produce records, if so ordered, or to give testimony touching the matter under investigation or in question; and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof. (1983, c. 913, s. 2; 1999-188, s. 1; 2006-203, s. 116; 2007-484, s. 34.5.)