OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Kevin Calvey released the following response about findings announced Thursday (May 17) by the grand jury investigating the state Health Department scandal, which confirmed that wasteful spending is rampant in state government and that tax increases were unnecessary to boost important functions of government like raising teacher pay.
“The grand jury findings prove exactly what we conservatives in the Legislature have been saying all along: that the Health Department deliberately spent money on its own pet projects, what the grand jury called a ‘slush fund,’ rather than spending the money on core programs,” Calvey said.
“Under cross-examination before the House Special Investigative Committee, disgraced former state Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger admitted that he approved the Health Department’s annual budgets by reviewing the same documentation as that provided by other state agencies. That means these sorts of ‘slush funds’ likely exist in perhaps dozens of other state agencies, not just in the Health Department.
“We conservatives opposed tax increases because not all of these ‘slush funds’ have yet been exposed. There is plenty of waste in state government that can be rerouted for better uses like raising teacher pay.”
Calvey urged further investigation. “Given the grand jury’s findings, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of the officials we cross-examined in the House Special Investigative Committee hearings last fall was guilty of making false statements under oath. I’m not referring to the whistleblowers. I urge the attorney general’s office to examine the record of those committee hearings to determine whether executive branch officials testified falsely to cover up gross misspending in state government.”