OUR VIEW: An accountability free-for-all | Opinion

by decwells
OUR VIEW: An accountability free-for-all | Opinion

Federal audits are not “business as usual”.

These are not partisan political games against Education Secretary Ryan Walters.

An audit by the U.S. Department of Education is investigating how the state allocates federal pandemic funds for low-income families. Nearly 10 percent of the money was spent on inconsequential projects, including odds and ends such as home furniture, appliances and even Christmas trees, according to an audit jointly reported by The Frontier and Oklahoma Watch.

Walters oversaw. The governor’s office has accused digital provider ClassWallet of receiving a no-bid contract to allocate grants. The audit found that Walters and the state government did not provide much oversight at all, did not use the verification tools provided by ClassWallet, and often gave blank approvals to purchases.

It’s hard to imagine someone in private business being allowed to make hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of mistakes and keep their jobs.

The problem here is that Walters is also running for director of public education, and it will be a little harder for a Republican governor to ask Republican state candidates to resign from the cabinet.

Now, in what could be a political game, Walters is accused of withholding funds for another school program, current state superintendent and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joey Hoffmeister. She claimed that Walters would not sign up to the roughly $12 million in funding designed for low-income infant and toddler programs.

Walters said it was a political stunt and he needed to be more “transparent” about how taxpayer funds were being used.

“I won’t approve this budget item until they agree to make sure I can see the financial reports to make sure taxpayers’ money goes where they deserve. Instead of responding to a simple email demanding bureaucratic accountability, she Decided to issue a political press release,” he said in one of his truck videos. “Make sure you’re accountable for taxpayer money. Make sure kids get the money they deserve. Give up the fight. Give up the fight against transparency.”


Matching an accountability strategy is a tougher game than just calling everyone who disagrees with you “wake up the left,” but the campaign has plenty of time left.


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