Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives cited reporting from The Frontier after overriding Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto of a bill requiring cabinet members and agency leaders appointed by the governor to file financial disclosures.
In discussion on the House floor during the last day of the regular legislative session, lawmakers referenced The Frontier’s recent investigation in collaboration with Oklahoma Watch that found a lack of oversight for millions of dollars of the state’s federal relief money intended to to help students during the coronavirus pandemic. The news organizations’ joint reporting also uncovered that Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters makes at least $120,000 a year as executive director of a nonprofit organization that keeps its donors secret.
Lawmakers also mentioned the Oklahoma Department of Tourism’s ongoing Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen scandal. The Frontier was first to report on millions of dollars the agency spent on Foggy Bottom restaurants at state parks, as well as unapproved fees and inflated prices the company charged the state.
“Would this bill help prevent what happened with the Swadley’s issue and what happened with the emergency education money that was spent?” Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, asked.
Senate Bill 1695, requiring many gubernatorial appointees to file financial disclosure statements with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, will now become law after the Oklahoma House and Senate successfully overrode Stitt’s veto.
To donate to The Frontier and help support our efforts to grow investigative journalism in Oklahoma, click here.