Audit: Weak accounting let Mississippi misspend federal cash

Auditors say accounting weaknesses at the Mississippi Department of Education allowed an employee to improperly divert millions of federal dollars, causing the state to slash after-school grants to repay the misspent money.

Two audits, released Friday, also find that the department wasn’t routinely making sure its books agreed with the state’s computerized accounting system, meaning the department misstated account balances by tens of millions of dollars.

The financial reviews also criticize the department for running months behind in issuing financial documents, and for not storing electronic copies of documents, meaning some were lost following a 2015 fire at its Jackson headquarters.