Yesterday afternoon, freshly-elected Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond – a former Air Force fighter pilot who gets the family discount at the Pioneer Woman Mercantile – announced he is dropping the state's sham lawsuit against Class Wallet – the contractor Stitt and Co. hired to help implement their GEER funding scheme – and is turning his investigative sights on the “state actors” who eagerly allowed the grift to happen.
You know, people like Oklahoma State School Superintendent Ryan Walters!
Here are some details via a Ben Smelder-The-Felder article in The Oklahoman:
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond believes "state actors" are to blame for the misspending of federal pandemic relief funds, not the Florida company Gov. Kevin Stitt accused of fraud last year.
On Tuesday, Drummond's office announced it was dropping a state lawsuit against Kleo Inc., the Florida-based vendor Stitt hired to help disburse $31 million in federal funds.
“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 Tuesday in an emailed statement. “It is clear that a number of state actors and other individuals are ultimately responsible for millions in misspent federal relief dollars.”
Yep, that’s a real quote from a real Oklahoma Attorney General who really wants to investigate right-wing schemers for wasting government funds, as opposed to simply looking for ways to enable and protect them.
I know Gentner shares a name with a famous storm-chasing communications radio, but how in the world did Oklahoma voters let that happen?!
Did they not know our AGs are supposed to be shady profiteers like Scott Pruitt, Mike Hunter, and John O’Connor? You know, dirty right-wing agents who try to destroy the government from the inside, all while using their office as a tool to gain power, enrich their friends, and in the case of Hunter, find a new wife?
After beating O’Connor in last year’s election, Drummond said he planned to investigate the pandemic relief funds program and implied the lawsuit may have been a way to divert attention away from Stitt and Walters.
"If the vendor didn't do anything wrong, you can anticipate we will dismiss the lawsuit,” Drummond said earlier this month.
On Tuesday, Drummond dropped the lawsuit but said the investigation is ongoing.
“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.”
In case you care, that sound you just heard was Ryan Walters frantically opening up a dictionary to see what “egregious” means.
Just kidding. Ryan Walters probably doesn’t own a dictionary. In fact, I believe he’s currently hiding in a parking garage with the Epic Charter School guys, hoping Gentner can’t track them down with an infrared targeting scanner.
That’s probably why he didn’t respond to Felder’s request for comment:
Stitt decried Drummond's decision to drop the lawsuit.
“The governor’s office strongly disagrees with the decision to dismiss the state’s legitimate effort to recover federal taxpayer dollars from a bad out-of-state vendor," a spokesperson for Stitt said on Tuesday.
Walters' office did not respond to a request for comment.
Uhm, if Class Wallet is such a bad out-of-state vendor, why is Stitt all buddy-buddy with the rube (Walters) who was duped by them? Wouldn’t such an egregious mistake in vetting and selecting a vendor show that Walters is in over his head and uniquely unqualified to lead a massive state agency that oversees billions of dollars in funds?
The answer to that rhetorical question is “Yes,” but it doesn't matter, because Stitt wants to sabotage and destroy public education from the inside, and Ryan Walters is a great guy for that job.
Anyway, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch this saga play out over the next year or so.
Although I don’t fully trust Gentner – he is a wealthy Oklahoma conservative lawyer with political ambitions, after all – he’s brought a bunch of Stitt’s rivals and political enemies onto his staff, and looks pretty determined to bring all the shady shenanigans of Stitt and Company to light.
So, what will that lead to?
I don’t think we fully know. There’s a lot of political chess to play here by a bunch of guys who should stick with checkers, but at least for now, it is comforting to know that Ryan Walters is probably soiling a box of kitty litter in his SUV. Once a fighter pilot lawyer has you locked in his investigative sights, it’s really hard to get away.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.