ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Most of Minnesota's 87 counties are planning to take advantage of a new law and hire private companies for their annual audits.

It's a blow to State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Otto is still fighting the 2015 law that allowed counties to forego her office and hire outside help for financial reviews.

Reports say that 44 counties have notified Otto's office that they've retained a private auditor for 2017 or are considering it. Private firms can often offer counties a cheaper rate than the State Auditor's office.

Otto argues that the 2015 legislation guts her constitutional duty to oversee local government finances. She's racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees while fighting to overturn the law.