Michigan House Republicans
Liquor Control Commission loses 62,000 bottles of booze
RELEASE|March 19, 2024
Contact: Tom Kunse

State Rep. Tom Kunse is calling for reforms within the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) after the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) uncovered widespread mismanagement within the commission. The MLCC is made up of five unelected governor appointees.

The OAG investigation revealed that more than 62,000 state-owned bottles of liquor were missing and uncovered extensive accounting failures. The value of the missing bottles totaled nearly $1 million, over 20 percent of its total inventory. The MLCC could not provide any information about the missing supply and was forced to process a refund to all vendors for the missing bottles.

“I’m sorry, but how is it even possible that the MLCC could be so mismanaged that 62,000 bottles of anything could just go missing?” asked Kunse, R-Clare. “There are clearly deep issues within the commission that must be addressed. Just because we are talking about alcohol doesn’t make these problems any less concerning. We would all be fixated on finding solutions if the Department of Corrections said it lost 62,000 prisoners or Treasury said it lost 20 percent of tax revenues.”

The MLCC manages spirit products by facilitating sales through authorized distribution agents (ADAs) using 11 state-owned warehouses. The OAG revealed that the MLCC failed to keep adequate sale and purchase records. From February 2021 to August 2022, $1.1 billion in spirit orders were not filed in the state’s online ordering system. The MLCC also gave liquor licenses to three organizations prohibited from selling alcohol. Sales from these three businesses totaled $272,139 from Jan. 1, 2018, to Aug. 5, 2022.

“This is yet another example of the auditor general finding deep-rooted failures and incompetence within the Whitmer administration,” Kunse said. “It is critical that the Legislature ensure this office remains fully funded so it can continue its essential work. The governor clearly wants the investigations to end so she can continue failing our state and misusing taxpayer dollars. We can never let that happen.”

In her recent budget proposal, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed the state drastically reduce funding for the OAG, which has exposed extensive incompetence, inefficiency, and fraud in its reviews of state agencies and programs.

Numerous audits by the OAG in recent years have exposed deep-rooted problems in the Whitmer Administration and other parts of state government. Most notably, a series of five audits, requested by House Republicans in 2020 and wrapped up in December of last year, helped expose billions of dollars in fraud and improper payments by Whitmer’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The OAG even exposed instances where state departments continued to misuse funds even after problems had been found and subsequently ignored.

The governor’s proposed $8.3 million net budget cut to the people’s watchdog is coming under further scrutiny after Auditor General Doug Ringler’s sent a letter to House and Senate leaders. Ringler explained how the 28% funding reduction would kneecap the OAG’s ability to fulfill audit requirements and could even put federal funding at risk.


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