House Committee to Investigate Tourism Department’s Dealings with Swadley’s Bar-BQ

A House Select Committee will investigate the potential misuse of taxpayer dollars by the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.

The now-cancelled contract between the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation and Swadley’s Bar-BQ is the subject of an investigation to be conducted by a House Special Investigative Committee that was announced Thursday.

At a press conference, House Appropriations and Budget Committee Vice Chairman Ryan Martinez addressed the purpose of the investigation.

“The President and the House realize very well that it is our job to track down every taxpayer dollar and find out exactly what happened and make sure it never happens again,” Martinez said.

Alleged overcharges at Swadley’s Bar-BQ paid by the Ministry of Tourism, including a pair of second-hand smokers who were charged double what they cost new, could amount to several million dollars from the taxpayers’ money.

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

“I have called for more audits than any other governor in the history of the state and welcome the legislature that joins me in protecting taxpayers and bringing to light any type of corruption or wrongdoing. actors involved in state government,” Stitt said. “The state does business with more than 4,600 companies and I look forward to a review of each one to provide maximum transparency to Oklahomans.”

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