Wednesday, July 05, 2023

House Speaker McCall reacts to audit finding $30M in questionable state spending

This is a week old, but I thought this statement from House Speaker Charles McCall regarding State Auditor Cindy Byrd's recent audit finding $30,000,000 in questionable pandemic-related grant spending deserved getting posted:

McCall Reacts to Audit Findings

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 27th) – Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, today released the following statement after State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd released the Federal Single Audit of expenditures made during SFY 2021 which includes pandemic funds. This annual audit is a federally-mandated examination of how the State of Oklahoma spends federal grant money and whether the State complied with federal regulations. 

“After a cursory review of Auditor Byrd’s report, I find her conclusions to be extremely troubling for our state and the hardworking taxpayers of Oklahoma.

As elected officials, our first duty is to represent our constituents and be good stewards of their hard earned money. The findings in the report show a pattern of irresponsible spending and questionable decision making that was not in the best interest of the Oklahoma taxpayer.

The Legislature was excluded from the appropriation process for these funds. The decisions on how and where to spend them was made unilaterally by the Executive Branch, resulting in little oversight and the documented misuses of taxpayer money.

Issues like the ones raised in the audit report are why my House colleagues and I insisted on a tax credit approach for parental choice rather than ESAs or vouchers, which can lead to misuse of funds, corruption and little to no accountability. The use of a tax credit avoids public funds being co-mingled with private funds, and provides for increased accountability in the process.

Oklahomans expect their government to spend tax dollars transparently, accountably and free from waste, fraud and abuse. It is clear that was not the case with the funds scrutinized in the audit. The Oklahoma House of Representatives will continue to monitor the investigation to see what legislative actions need to be taken to avoid situations like this in the future.”


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