OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s Attorney General has dismissed a lawsuit that was filed in the wake of a federal audit.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond dismissed a lawsuit that was filed by former Attorney General John O’Connor.
O’Connor filed the lawsuit last August after a scathing audit by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General found questionable spending and processes surrounding millions in federal funds.
The audit focused on $31 million in Governor’s Education Emergency Relief (GEER) funds.
Officials say the money was supposed to help families with education expenses. However, it actually was spent on video game consoles, home appliances, furniture, smartphones, and Christmas trees.
The lawsuit accused a Florida-based vendor, ClassWallet, of wrongdoing.
Oklahoma AG Drummond expressed skepticism over the lawsuit, saying it pointed the finger at the wrong party.
“After a thorough review of this matter, I have concluded that the lawsuit filed by the previous Attorney General is almost wholly without merit,” Drummond said. “It is clear that a number of state actors and other individuals are ultimately responsible for millions in misspent federal relief dollars.”
Drummond says now that the lawsuit is dismissed, his office can focus on which individuals should be held accountable for the relief dollars being misspent.
“While the lawsuit has been dismissed, this matter is far from concluded,” Drummond said. “My office will continue engaging with various state and federal agencies to investigate this egregious misuse of tax dollars.”
A joint effort by reporters from Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier uncovered that Then-Secretary of Education Ryan Walters, then head of the non-profit Every Kid Counts Oklahoma, helped bring tech platform ClassWallet, claiming to maintain the highest levels of oversight and control to make purchases easier, to the state’s attention as a vendor.
The result was a non-competitive bid contract with the state with little government oversight and half a million dollars in purchases for items like dishwashers, TVs, video game consoles, and more.
The Florida-based platform said the state was ultimately responsible for monitoring oversight and allocation, telling KFOR in an email in May 2022, that the “client is the administrator of its specific program and ClassWallet simply provides the technology platform.”