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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary
COVID-19-Related Emergency Purchases
Performance Audit

Financial Audit Division May 2023


The 18 state entities we reviewed generally complied with the significant finance-related legal requirements we tested. However, we identified some specific instances of noncompliance at eight state entities. These instances of noncompliance related to obtaining and using emergency purchasing authority; managing the inventory of COVID-19 supplies and equipment; funding, payment, and support for expenditures; and final reporting on emergency purchases.


  • Finding 1. State entities do not have a clear understanding of the Governor’s or the Minnesota Department of Administration’s emergency purchasing authority. (p. 10)

  • Finding 2. The Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Office of the Secretary of State did not obtain emergency purchasing authority before bypassing required procurement processes. (p. 11)

  • Finding 3. The Minnesota Department of Education used its emergency authority—and therefore bypassed the vendor solicitation process—for a purchase that was not an emergency. (p. 13)

  • Finding 4. The Minnesota Department of Health did not maintain accurate inventory records or conduct complete physical inventories in compliance with state policy. (p. 16)

  • Finding 5. The Minnesota Department of Health did not restrict user access within the inventory management system and did not have alternative procedures in place to mitigate the resulting risk. (p. 19)

  • Finding 6. The Office of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor charged unallowable expenditures to the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. (p. 21)

  • Finding 7. The Minnesota Department of Health, Department of Employment and Economic Development, and Office of the Secretary of State did not always pay vendors accurately or recover unused advanced payments. (p. 22)

  • Finding 8. The Minnesota Department of Health did not always have adequate supporting documentation for advanced payments to community contractors. (p. 24)

  • Finding 9. The Department of Human Services, Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, and Office of the Secretary of State did not always accurately pay sales and use taxes. (p. 25)

  • Finding 10. The Minnesota Department of Administration did not enforce its requirement for state entities to submit final reports on emergency purchases exceeding $5,000. (p. 27)

More Information

Office of the Legislative Auditor, Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155 : or 651‑296‑4708