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I Cannot Be Trusted

Here I'll tell you my missteps and why I'm someone who absolutely cannot be trusted.

Expenses & Fact Checking


  • I claimed $489 in travel reimbursements to cover the cost of mileage, per diem and a hotel room in the Dallas area in April 2023 and attend the premiere of the anti-abortion horror film Nefarious. The film was shot in Oklahoma City and is about a serial killer who is set for execution but is possessed by a demon.


  • I spent $1,102 for airfare, lodging and other expenses for a trip to National Harbor, Maryland, later that same month to speak at a conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center sponsored by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. 


  • I also billed the state between $1,025 and $1,220 for a speaking appearance at the Moms for Liberty Joyful Warriors Summit in Philadelphia in June, according to travel forms that included estimated airfare costs. 


  • I claimed another $552 for airfare, mileage and per diem for an appearance as the keynote speaker at the Freedom Foundation’s Teachers for Freedom Summit in Denver in July. The event featured sessions such as “Teachers Unions: An International Problem” and “Is woke curriculum taking over your subject?”  


  • I traveled to Washington D.C. for two days in August. The estimated total cost of my travel including airfare and lodging was between $989 and $1,067, documents show. The trip was for “policy meetings,” according to a state travel form and airfare estimates. An itinerary shows I had two meetings with representatives from conservative think tanks but most of the trip was spent making media appearances, including talk shows affiliated with the far-right media outlet The Epoch Times, which has ties to the Falun Gong religious movement and a podcast hosted by the president of the Heritage Foundation. 

Misspent Federal Money

​Claim: A state vendor is responsible for the mismanagement of federal relief money intended to help families with educational expenses during the coronavirus pandemic. 

I Said: “We had a vendor that signed a contract with the state that said ‘we will disperse this money and we assume all responsibility for setting money.’ And there was money that was missing. And we moved to hold that vendor accountable through a lawsuit.”

Fact check: FALSE

As The Frontier and Oklahoma Watch reported in 2022, the vendor, Florida-based ClassWallet, signed a contract with the state to allow parents to buy school supplies with federal pandemic relief funds through the company’s digital platform. At the time, Walters was the CEO of the nonprofit Every Kid Counts Oklahoma, which oversaw the program. Emails show a representative from ClassWallet asked Walters whether parents should be restricted from buying certain items on ClassWallet’s platform. But Walters gave “blanket approval” for all purchases. An investigation by The Frontier and Oklahoma Watch found that much of the money was spent on non-educational items including video games, home appliances and Christmas trees. The state sued ClassWallet last year, but didn’t do much to advance the lawsuit after it was filed.  Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond dropped the lawsuit after taking office in January. A recently-released audit by State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd found that Oklahoma failed to inform ClassWallet and state agencies the money passed through of monitoring, reporting and records retention requirements. That audit lays blame for mismanagement of the funds squarely at the feet of the state.

Records requests

Claim: Ryan Walters has responded to more open records requests during his first six months as State Superintendent than his predecessor Joy Hofmeister did during her second term.

I said: “I’ve responded to more open records requests in the six months I’ve been there … than Joy Hofmeister did her entire second term.” 

Fact check: FALSE

During the last three years of Hofmeister’s second term between 2020 and 2022, the Oklahoma State Department of Education received 1,215 open records requests, according to records provided by the agency. As of July 7, two of those requests were listed as still pending. Walters took office in January 2023. Data for the year up to July 7 shows the department has received 326 open records requests and of those, 99 records requests had yet to be filled.

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