Oklahoma AG blames "state actors and other individuals" for misspent federal relief funds
(The Center Square) - By Kim Jarrett- Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said Tuesday, "a number of state actors and other individuals are ultimately responsible for millions in misspent federal relief dollars."
Drummond dismissed a federal lawsuit filed by former Attorney General John O'Connor against ClassWallet, a Florida company hired by the state to administer a program called "Bridge the Gap." An audit by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General questioned the use of the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Funds. Some money meant to purchase education supplies was used to purchase other items such as television sets, furniture and smartphones, according to the OIG report. The audit identified $652,720 in expenditures that it said were "questionable" and recommended the state either return the money to the federal government or provide documentation to show the spending was education related.
The audit also called for a full review of another $5.4 million that may have also been misspent. The lawsuit filed against ClassWallet was "almost wholly without merit," the district attorney said in a news release.
"It is clear that a number of state actors and other individuals are ultimately responsible for millions in misspent federal relief dollars," Drummond said.
The focus is now on who should be held accountable for the misspent dollars, Drummond said.
"While the lawsuit has been dismissed, this matter is far from concluded," Drummond said. "My office will continue engaging with various state and federal agencies to investigate this egregious misuse of tax dollars."
State Auditor Cindy Byrd is preparing an audit of the use of the GEER funds. That report will like come between March and July, according to the news release.