OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gentner Drummond, the new Oklahoma Attorney General, said fighting corruption and scandal is one of the top priorities for his first term.

Sworn in Monday, he went right to work.

“So today is essentially day one for you…?” KFOR asked Drummond.

“No, it’s day two,” responded the AG. “We worked a lot yesterday.”

In the past year, an investigation was opened into the State Tourism Department and its contract with Swadley’s Bar-B-Q.

Swadley’s had a deal to remodel and operate the restaurants at Oklahoma state parks. A report by LOFT, the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency, found that millions of dollars was overcharged by the company and paid out by the state.

Former AG John O’Connor stayed out of the situation, never starting an investigation.

The new attorney general said when it comes to alleged misspent tax dollars, he will act as the umpire calling balls and strikes.

“There is a new sheriff in town,” said Drummond. “I think all state actors realize that.”

As the top law enforcement officer in the state, Drummond wants to assert himself in situations where he can protect Oklahomans.

“Past administrations have had conflicts of interest,” said the new AG. “I have no conflict of interest in pursuing any state actor that might have misapplied state funds.”

Drummond is a former US Air Force fighter pilot, and he is setting a strict standard for state leaders at all levels. He expects the best public service from everyone.  

“I’m suggesting any appointee or elected official that you should put the state of Oklahoma first,” said Drummond.

The attorney general has two other priorities he wants to pursue during his term: improving Tribal relations and cracking down on illegal marijuana grow operations.

Establishing a relationship with the tribes is something he said has already started.

“It’s primarily with an emphasis of rebuilding a relationship, showing mutual respect, indicating the value that the tribes had to the state,” said Drummond. “If you took 39 tribes and their economic benefit out of the state of Oklahoma, we would be a third world state.”

He said his team has spoken to the five major tribes and their attorneys general.

When it comes to ending the illegal marijuana operations throughout the state, Drummond is asking for new laws to address transparency.

“I’m going to suggest to our legislators that if law enforcement has a reasonable and articulable suspicion, that it should have access behind the wall of the LLC so that we can see who these owners are,” said Drummond.

He argued that would help understand the who is funding the “ghost owners,” which are essentially owners-in-name-only.

“If the owners are legitimate Oklahomans, wonderful,” said Drummond. “If they’re illegitimate foreign actors, then we’re going to crack down.”

Gentner Drummond, a Republican, was not Governor Kevin Stitt’s pick for attorney general.

The Governor appointed John O’Connor after the resignation of then-AG Mike Hunter in May of 2021.

Drummond narrowly defeated O’Connor’s reelection bid in the Republican Primary of June 2022.

But the Governor’s office supports Drummond’s priority on fighting corruption.

“Look no further than his calling for a full financial audit of the State Department of Education, or his call for an audit of Tulsa Public Schools, or his call to audit Epic Charter Schools, or his call for an audit of the Commissioners of the Land Office, or his request for an audit of Oklahoma Health Care Authority in 2019, or his support of the investigative audit of the Oklahoma State Department of Health last year,” said Kate Vesper, press secretary for Governor Stitt, in a statement. “Simply put, no elected official is more committed to fighting for the taxpayer than Governor Stitt.”