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Oklahoma House member calls for investigation into nonprofit's ties to Education Department

Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman asked for an investigation Tuesday into the state Education Department's relationship with the Foundation for Innovation in Education, a nonprofit that paid for a 2011 conference.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: March 21, 2012
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“The issue is not whether or not the Department of Education worked with a nonprofit to put on a conference,” Jones said. “How they handle it is the difference here.”

He said board members of the nonprofit under Garrett were not aware of the accounts, while his investigators found that under Barresi's administration the foundation was aware of the accounts.

“Every indication we have is that the board members did actually know what was going on at the nonprofit,” said Jones, a Republican who took office in January 2011.

Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, issued a statement calling the auditor's investigation inconsistent.

“If the practice of a past administration warrants investigation, then those same practices of the current administration should trigger similar action,” Virgin said in the statement. “I trust that Auditor Jones will do what is necessary to investigate any wrongdoing that may have occurred.”

Jones said an investigation must be requested by the attorney general, the governor or by both the Speaker of the House and the president pro tem for his office to have the authority to move forward.