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Politics and Government

House committee to investigate tourism department's dealings with Swadley's Bar-B-Q

Swadley's Bar-B-Q
Swadley's Bar-B-Q
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A special House committee will investigate potential misuse of taxpayer dollars by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.

The now canceled contract between the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and Swadley’s Bar-B-Q is the subject of an investigation that will be led by a House Special Investigative Committee which was announced on Thursday.

In a press conference, Vice Chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee Representative Ryan Martinez addressed the goal of the investigation.

"The Speaker and the House very much realizes that it is our job to track down every single taxpayer dollar and find out exactly what happened and make sure it never happens again," said Martinez.

Alleged overcharges from Swadley’s Bar-B-Q paid by the Tourism Department, including a pair of used smokers which were billed for double what they cost brand new, could amount to several million dollars of taxpayer funds.

Gov. Kevin Stitt released a statement in support of the investigation on Thursday calling for transparency for taxpayers.

"I have called for more audits than any other governor in state history and welcome the Legislature joining me to protect the taxpayers and shine a light on any kind of corruption or bad actors involved in state government," Stitt said. "The state does business with more than 4,600 companies and I welcome a review of each one to provide maximum transparency for Oklahomans."

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