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California Parks Department to face indepedent audit over special funds

A California State Parks sign is seen in this file photo.

August 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
California's state parks department will face an independent audit. Lawmakers want to know how nearly $54 million in two special funds went unreported even as budget cuts were threatening to close 70 parks.

The hidden parks money has already prompted a review of 560 special state funds by the Department of Finance and a separate investigation into the parks department itself.

The Attorney General is also looking into the scandal. But lawmakers say that's not enough. Many Republican lawmakers say a broader review is needed to look for other hidden pots of cash.

The audit is expected to take seven months, but State Auditor Elaine Howle said her office would be able to deliver its findings related to the hidden funds by January.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.