ST. PAUL (AP) — Some county officials and state lawmakers are airing their grievances about the state auditor's handling of a new law curbing her office's power.

A House committee met Tuesday to discuss State Auditor Rebecca Otto's letters asking counties to sign a three-year contract for annual financial audits. Some county officials say they feel pressured to sign a long-term agreement despite a new law allowing them to contract private auditing firms starting next year.

State Rep. Bob Loonan likens the letter to bullying.

It's just the latest chapter in the battle over the state auditor's duties that helped drag the Legislature into overtime this spring.

Otto didn't attend Tuesday's hearing but issued a statement defending her office's request. She says the contracts are both legal and prudent for county management.