State Treasurer of Iowa

Honoring a Notable Iowan – Richard Johnson

June 3, 2022

Guest Editorial from State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald

I had the opportunity to reflect back on the impact a single person can make on this great state as I attended the funeral of a notable Iowan, Richard Johnson. Dick served 25 years as the State Auditor.

As I listened to different speakers and shared stories with other attendees, one theme came out: Dick loved God, his family and the State of Iowa. I witnessed all three of those as we served together as elected officials.

Richard Johnson may not be a name everyone in Iowa knows, but there are reasons why they should. For many people, how the financial books are kept is not the most interesting subject matter to discuss. I admit, it is hard to write this without getting into the weeds, but for Dick, it was his passion in the 1990s to advocate for a change to the way the State of Iowa kept the books. In those days, Iowa wasn’t required to adhere to a standard set of rules on how to book revenue and expenses.

Dick helped bring change to this process and pushed hard for Iowa to adopt GAAP accounting standards. I know many of you reading this will ask, why does that matter? I would say because Dick cared enough about this state to travel its border and make sure people understood the importance of doing things the right way. He was a man of integrity and he wanted to ensure his state was known as a state of integrity. Because of him, Iowans can rest assured that the numbers they see in the State’s accounting books reflect the true picture of Iowa’s finances.

About the author: Michael L. Fitzgerald is the State Treasurer of Iowa. He serves as the State’s banker, coordinates bonding and invests Iowa’s money. Under Treasurer Fitzgerald’s leadership, Iowa launched important programs including the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt unclaimed property program, College Savings Iowa 529 education savings plan and IAble, Iowa’s ABLE plan for individuals with disabilities. To learn more about the Treasurer, visit IowaTreasurer.gov.

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