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Santa Clara County Board President Shirakawa Subject of a Critical Audit

Friday, Dec. 14, 2012

The Santa Clara County Finance Agency has determined that Board President George Shirakawa Jr. has been imprudent in his use of public funds.  According to the San Jose Mercury News:

Since taking office in 2009, Shirakawa used his county credit card for 174 meals at local restaurants, later reporting he had lost most of the required itemized receipts. He also billed taxpayers for out-of-state casinos, golf fees and rental car upgrades -- in some cases reimbursing the costs months later, only after being questioned. 

Shirakawa also allowed his staff to use county monies to make donation to his favorite charitable causes.  In an interview with the Mercury News, Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson commented:

It's clearly improper for public officials to use public monies for charitable causes....  The channeling of public monies by a single public official outside the appropriation process becomes a backdoor way of funding the charities that either are the favorite of a public official, or are useful to the public official in their election efforts.

Tags: government ethics