Lawmakers Look Into Possible Misuse Of Funds By OSDE, Superintendent Walters

State lawmakers are looking into reports of misspent funds by State Superintendent Ryan Walters.

Tuesday, March 19th 2024, 10:24 pm

By: News 9, Haley Weger


State lawmakers are looking into reports of misspent funds by State Superintendent Ryan Walters.

Senate and House leadership say they were notified that Walters allegedly spent taxpayer dollars to hire an outside public relations firm to book interviews on national news outlets.

The state superintendent has made dozens of appearances on national news outlets, most recently Fox News last night, where he criticized President Biden for using the death of an Oklahoma student as “political gain.”

News 9 contacted the superintendent for an interview today and was told he would be out of town all week. “We should not be spending money, taxpayer dollars for personal promotion,” said House Speaker Charles McCall, ( R) Atoka.

“Those are legitimate concerns,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, (R) OKC.

The state superintendent has been a frequent guest on Fox News and other conservative news outlets. Now leaders at the capitol are looking into reports that a D.C. firm set up those appearances, allegedly paid for with Oklahoma taxpayer dollars. “It's a fair point to ask questions of every agency that hires PR firms and those kinds of things, it's an honest question: is that a good use of taxpayer dollars,” said Governor Kevin Stitt.

House Speaker Charles McCall says legislation to curb that kind of spending is an option for the state house this year.

“I'm sure the house, this cycle, we can certainly commit to a limits bill within the education budget to specifically prohibit that type of expenditure going forward. But I was very surprised to hear that money would be used for that anywhere in state government,” said McCall.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters responded in a statement, saying in part, “Having saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by eliminating 11 full-time employees, I’m surprised that the Speaker is looking to increase inefficiencies.” 

Walters went on to say “We are spreading a strong message: recruiting new teachers, fighting back against woke indoctrination, and getting schools back to basics. I wish the House would spend more time on these fights than believing lies by the liberal media.”

The state superintendent has repeatedly denied any misuse of state funds or taxpayer dollars.


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