Oklahoma Education Department Spent $2.3 million through Slush Fund, Audit Claims

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, March 8, 2012

The state Education Department used at least two undisclosed bank accounts as a slush fund for drinks, entertainment, travel and more at state education conferences, spending $2.3 million over the past 10 years, according to an investigative state audit released Wednesday.

“These off-book and unauthorized accounts allowed (Education Department) officials to pay, at a single event, $2,600 for 85 bottles of wine and 3 kegs of beer and $5,700 for food items including a ‘chocolate fountain,' ‘Maryland crab cakes,' ‘mini beef wellingtons,' and ‘smoked salmon mousse in a puff pastry,' without following any of the requirements normally associated with government expenditures,” the report from the state Auditor and Inspector's Office shows.

The accounts were set up in the name of the nonprofit Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission, which was established in 1957. According to the audit, Education Department officials acted on behalf of the Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission when they solicited payments from vendors or companies attending education conferences hosted by the department.

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