Gary Jones

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter on Monday released an audit and other documents related to a corruption probe his office fought to keep secret.

The records stem from an investigation launched in 2011 of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, which was set up to buy contaminated properties and relocate residents near the Tar Creek Superfund site, a former lead and zinc mine in northeastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma state auditor Gary Jones testified Thursday that whistleblowers warned his office of possible fraud months before the State Department of Health nearly missed payroll due to alleged mishandling of $30 million dollars.

Jones provided a detailed timeline describing early efforts to unravel how funds were mismanaged, who knew and when. He told the house investigative committee that an unnamed health department manager came forward in late July to alert his office of financial mismanagement at the state health department. Within days, four more employees came forward.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A watchdog group is suing two state officials to force them to hand over documents related to corruption allegations at the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma.

Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Accountability requested documents related to a 2011 investigation of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Trust, a public trust set up with government money to buy contaminated properties and relocate residents near the abandoned lead and zinc mine.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a special election for a House seat which stays in Republican hands after the GOP gets a win in Seminole and Pottawatomie Counties, a $430M revenue bill stalls after a fight over expansion of tribal gaming and Governor Fallin reiterates her threat to veto a bill which just contains more cuts to already suffering state agencies.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Superintendents across Oklahoma are begging lawmakers to do something about school funding. Ultimately, school officials want more money, but that requires raising taxes, which is a tough thing to do in Oklahoma—for many reasons. However, this year, solutions are popping up in unexpected places.

The Superintendent of Ponca City Public Schools, David Pennington, said if education funding is cut next year he is going to have to drastically change the way his school functions.  

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 2017 legislative session is beyond the halfway point and the clock is ticking on lawmakers who have until the end of May to set the state’s budget and plug an $870 million funding hole. Legislators say every option is on the table, including one with growing public support: Increasing taxes on oil and gas.

First, it was state Democrats like minority leader Scott Inman, who have long argued Oklahoma’s taxes are too generous for oil and gas companies.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the state legislature reaching the halfway point in the session, leaders of the House and Senate announce they hope to limit cuts to common education to little or nothing in the upcoming fiscal year and Scott Pruitt faces an investigation by the Oklahoma Bar Association on accusations of lying to a U.S. Senate committee during his confirmation hearing to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

A newly released audit of an Oklahoma sheriff's office shows thousands of items valued at more than $3.3 million missing from its inventory, including vehicles, firearms, computers and other equipment.

The audit released today was conducted by state Auditor & Inspector Gary Jones' office following the departure in February of former Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel after 20 years as sheriff.

sai.ok.gov

Oklahoma's two-term Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones said Friday he is strongly considering running for state treasurer in 2018, when his current term expires.

The Republican from Cache said he hasn't made a final decision, but plans to do so after the 2016 general election.

"I think I have a reputation for being willing to stand up and do what's right and in the best interest of Oklahoma," Jones said. "So many times you get people who are influenced by campaign contributions or even just the limelight of being an elected official.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the biggest stories to come out of the summer break, especially the $140M surplus found by the state and the upcoming general election.

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