STATEMENT: McCall Reacts to Audit Findings
Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, today released the following statement after State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd released an audit of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) spending.
“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.”