With Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier’s explosive reporting on the digital hijacking of federal pandemic funding for education, the stories are getting worse about Governor Kevin Stitt. We should all cling to more stories of government malfeasance, wasteful and improper spending, and the governor’s blind, bigoted zeal to end public education in Oklahoma.
The top-notch journalism of Jennifer Palmer, Clifton Adcock and Reese Gorman is winning national acclaim. According to report$8 million in Federal Governor Emergency Education Assistance (GEER) funds for families to pay for school equipment and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic has been often spent on TVs, appliances, and car stereos using a Florida-based financial app called ClassWallet.
The balance of the $18 million received by Oklahoma went to school voucher programs.
This is a two-pronged government disaster: allowing emergency funds to be misused for “big game” purchases and systematically plundering the state’s public education system to bolster education at home. profit in Oklahoma. There’s probably more to come, just like there was in last week’s Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen scandal when Stitt denied even knowing CEO Brent Swadley.
I’m a bit impressed with the methodology used to report the financial elements of this story. Journalists were generous in defining what constituted educational purchases, which made the disclosures all the more compelling.
Although some of these items were undoubtedly purchased as part of a “We’re going to Best Buy!” exceptional shopping spree, reporters included computers, laptops, tablets, headphones, most chairs, tables, desks, and even gaming systems as education expenses, all in the service of isolating ClassWallet purchases that were definitely, absolutely not educational.
These included dishwashers, car amplifiers, home theater equipment, Brad nailers and air compressors, scooters and a vintage Pac-Man arcade game. Oh, and at least 548 TVs which total around $191,000.
Now, I’m not shocked that some parents in Oklahoma sold their kids’ education for an air fryer or a new washer and dryer set while shouting “Let’s go Brandon” to anyone within earshot. What is completely inexcusable is that Stitt and Education Secretary (Broheim Division) Ryan Walters have not put any safeguards on the system to prevent people from abusing it. Instead of helping the children, Stitt “made it rain”.
Moreover, the ClassWallet deal was yet another no-bid state contract, just like Swadley’s. Tenders are launched in order to level the playing field between potential suppliers. A former public school teacher from McAlester with political ambitions and a mid-10s Richard Spencer haircut settled the deal. A few months later, Walters became Oklahoma’s secretary of education, a cabinet post in which the main duties seem to harass public school systems while repeating Corey DeAngelis’ pro-good talking points in increasingly garish publications on social networks.
Stitt’s spokeswoman, Carly Atchison, offered a testy written response to reporters’ questions.
“During the COVID pandemic, Governor Stitt had a duty to deliver federal relief funds to Oklahoma students and families as quickly as possible and he did just that,” Atchison said.
After spending several minutes with this statement poring over every word, I can say that technically Atchison wasn’t lying. But the allocation was for school supplies, not the refrigerators and meat smokers that were purchased.
Wait a second…meat smokers? Are the Stitt scandals starting to converge?
Last updated on May 3, 2022 at 4:47 p.m. by Brett Dickerson – Editor