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Who is Tim DeFoor, a Republican running for Pa. auditor general?

by Kate Mays, Paige Willett, and Wynter Muro for Spotlight PA |

Republican Auditor General Tim DeFoor
Commonwealth Media Services

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Update, April 24: Malcolm Kenyatta wins Democratic primary for Pa. auditor general, will face Republican Tim DeFoor this fall

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania voters will elect an auditor general this November, but Democrats and Republicans first must pick their candidates this spring.

Incumbent Tim DeFoor is the only Republican running for his party’s nomination. He will appear on the April 23 primary ballot.

The auditor general monitors how public dollars are spent, to catch fraud and graft if they occur. The office does this by conducting financial audits, and monitoring whether state-funded programs are doing what they’re supposed to.

Learn more about DeFoor below:

Who is Tim DeFoor?


A Dauphin County native, DeFoor graduated from Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

DeFoor served as a special agent for the state attorney general’s office, investigating Medicaid fraud. He was also a fraud investigator and internal auditor for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and as a federal contractor.

In 2015, DeFoor was elected Dauphin County controller. There, he won national awards and created the county’s first audit division.

In 2020, DeFoor was elected Pennsylvania’s auditor general, defeating Democrat Nina Ahmad. DeFoor is the first person of color to win a statewide office in Pennsylvania and the first Republican to hold the auditor general position since 1997.

In his announcement that he would seek another four years in office, DeFoor said his first term focused on transforming the auditor general’s office in a nonpartisan way, and that his second would center on “ensuring the job gets done.”

DeFoor has taken a different approach to the office than his predecessor, Democrat Eugene DePasquale.

DePasquale’s two terms as auditor general were marked by the regular release of special reports focused on policy issues seen as outside the traditional scope of the office. One laid out 12 recommendations for reducing gun violence deaths. Another estimated how much revenue the commonwealth was missing by not taxing marijuana.

DeFoor has primarily stuck to the office’s required functions: auditing local pension plans and volunteer firefighters’ relief associations, and making sure county offices and district courts handle state money properly.

During his first term, DeFoor released an audit that claimed a dozen school districts had raised local taxes “while holding millions of dollars in their General Funds.” He said the audit identified districts moving money so they would meet the state threshold to raise taxes, which he called a “shell game.” Critics said that DeFoor lacked an understanding of the districts’ budgeting processes.

DeFoor also closed the bureau that audited schools, which his office said led to 11 layoffs. Those responsibilities were transferred back to the state Department of Education.

According to his campaign website, DeFoor’s second-term priorities include:

  • Cutting “wasteful government spending” to protect taxpayers and strengthen the economy.

  • Increasing transparency by ending “loopholes” that allow Pennsylvania agencies to hide taxpayer-funded contracts from the public.

DeFoor serves on the Harrisburg Area Community College Foundation Board of Directors, the State YMCA of Pennsylvania Board of Directors, and the Chris “Handles” Franklin Foundation Board of Directors. He is a member of the Greater Harrisburg Area NAACP and the Pennsylvania State Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #78.

A month after DeFoor took office as auditor general, now opponent state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta questioned DeFoor about election fraud claims at a state House committee hearing. At the time, skepticism about election integrity was at a high, particularly among Republicans, after former president Donald Trump baselessly insisted his election had been subject to widespread fraud.

“I believe my election was fair,” DeFoor said. “As far as anybody else’s election, that’s a conversation that you would have to have with them, but I haven’t heard any complaints with regards to my specific election.”

Endorsements: Pennsylvania Republican Party.

>>READ MORE: A complete guide to the primary candidates for auditor general

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