This is a controversy which the Court of Auditors, guarantor of the country’s budgetary rigor, would have been fine with. Mediapart revealed on Monday that the institution would have reprinted more than 3,000 copies of its latest activity report, for the tidy sum of 10,000 euros. According to the information site, it was a “whim” of the first president of the Court of Auditors which motivated this operation at great expense. Pierre Moscovici would have intervened personally to have one of the two photos in the report representing him replaced. “The first version initially showed Pierre Moscovici on the rooftops of Paris, smiling but with a tired look and drawn features. In the new version, he is inside the Palais Cambon, still smiling, but more dashing. The second photo of the First President, taken “behind a desk bearing a large Court logo”, was deleted from the second version.

Pierre Moscovici, disappointed by his photogenicity? The story could make you smile, if it were not, as Mediapart reminds us, “public funds”. And this, “within an institution which precisely poses itself as the critic of the misuse of public money within the State”, crushes the investigative media, accustomed to tracking down the contradictions of the political and institutional world . Requested by Le Figaro, the Court of Auditors formally denies having given in to the “whim” of its first president. “The first version of the activity report, which is a bit like our showcase because it is distributed internally and to all our institutional partners, was printed without proof [ready to print, Editor’s note], which is anything but professional,” justifies the secretary general of the Court of Auditors, Maïa Wirgin.

The institution does not deny having replaced the two photos of its first president. “The two incriminated photos, which were actually changed, did not correspond to what had been requested: first of all, there was one too many, while excessive personalization of this brochure was not desired. , but on the contrary to emphasize the collective and collegial character of the institution,” argues Maïa Wirgin. As for the other photo, described in great detail by the investigative site, the general secretary maintains that it was “both non-institutional and distorted”. Hence its replacement.

Contrary to what Mediapart suggests, it would not be Pierre Moscovici himself who demanded the reprinting of the report. “It was decided – and it was not at the request of the first president, who did not request this second version – to rectify this error and to carry out a new printing.” “The Court is responsible for the good management of public funds, but it is also an institution whose communication must be clean and serious,” insists Maïa Wirgin. The fact remains that the operation cost 10,000 euros, as indicated by Mediapart. To finance the reprint, the institution claims to have drawn entirely on the “savings made this year on the publication”, which amount to 30,000 euros. The taxpayer can therefore conclude, like the Secretary General, that the Court “does not deviate from its mission of controlling expenditure, including for itself”. He could also see, like the investigative media, “reduced savings” in times of budgetary rigor…