UPDATE: 9/8/2023 4:25 P.M.
The headline of this story has been updated to reflect the focus of the Ethics Commission’s work.
Additionally, News 4 has obtained an email which indicates Superintendent of Education Ryan Walters is not under a “Formal Investigation” by the Oklahoma Ethics commission.
That email has been added to the story below. We contacted the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, Ashley Kemp, to verify the validity of the email. She told us, Oklahoma’s ethics rules prevented her from confirming or denying the authenticity of the email.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — At an Oklahoma Ethics Commission meeting on Thursday, no action was taken in regard to four investigations into allegations of campaign reporting violations.
This came just a week after Oklahoma Department of Education State Superintendent Ryan Walters was told by the commission to pay $7,800 due to 14 different late campaign reports, one of which he contested.
The meeting also came after reporting from The Oklahoman which found that Walters allegedly hadn’t written several campaign donations and made mistakes on others.
Donations from the Political Action Committee The 1776 Project were reported to the Federal Elections Commission from the PAC to Walters campaign. However, the same gifts were never reported coming to Walters’s campaign from the PAC. The amount according to records was a $5,000 donation made Oct. 31.
According to the PAC’s website, the 1776 Project describes itself as, “a political action committee dedicated to electing school board members nationwide who want to reform our public education system by promoting patriotism and pride in American history. Committed to abolishing critical race theory and ‘The 1619 Project’ from the public school curriculum.”
“These fines can be very severe,” said Executive Director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission Ashley Kemp. Kemp told KFOR since no action was taken they could not name the person under investigation until a later date.
Kemp said that if someone repeatedly broke the campaign finance rule and did nothing to fix it, they could then see fines up to $100,000. Kemp said the money from the fines and fees goes into the state’s general fund.
Reporting from The Oklahoman also found that Walters allegedly didn’t disclose donations from other candidates’ campaigns, that he didn’t report $1,000 in donations from certain political parties, and he didn’t report a $1,000 donation from State Representative Mark LePak’s campaign.
KFOR reached out to the State Superintendent’s team on Thursday and did not hear back from them until late Friday afternoon.