Oklahoma lawmaker sues over coronavirus relief fund records

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a lawsuit under the Open Records Act seeking records about the expenditures of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief, or GEER, funds.

Republican Rep. Logan Phillips filed a lawsuit against the Office of Management and Business Services on Tuesday and said Gov. Kevin Stitt and Education Secretary Ryan Walters, also Republicans, had not responded to their requests for documents.

“I seek declaratory relief and an injunction because I believe failure to provide the requested documents is unlawful and the documents should be made public, Phillips said.

Representatives for Stitt and OMES told Tulsa World that Phillips did not attend scheduled meetings to view the documents.

A U.S. Department of Education audit in July sharply criticized state officials for their lack of oversight and accountability in how they used nearly $40 million in coronavirus relief funds intended to education.

The audit recommended the state return nearly $653,000 spent on non-educational items such as televisions and Xbox gaming systems and verify an additional $5.4 million for possible reimbursement of misdirected funds.

The state blamed the Florida-based contractor hired to administer the programs and sued the company for how it distributed the funds.

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