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Oklahoma auditor seeks release of Tar Creek audit

January 19, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s auditor is requesting that a court order him to release a 2011 audit concerning alleged unlawful contracting in the cleanup of the Environmental Protection Agency’s heavily polluted Tar Creek Superfund site.

Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones conducted the audit into unlawful contracting practices of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Trust at the request of then Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the Tulsa World reported. The trust was formed to oversee the voluntary buyout of homes at the site in Picher and Cardin in the northeastern part of the state.

Pruitt, who’s now head of the EPA, ordered that the audit not to be released after its completion. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has upheld the order.

A nonprofit, Campaign for Accountability, filed a lawsuit in November against Hunter and Jones seeking the audit’s release. In response, Jones has asked the court to declare the public’s right to access the requested records.

Hunter has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying his office is allowed to keep documents confidential. He said that Jones was acting as an agent of the Attorney General’s Office when he conducted the audit.

Daniel E. Stevens, executive director for the Campaign for Accountability, said Jones’ request agrees with the organization’s position.

“It is also notable Hunter and Pruitt have gone to lengths to keep the audit hidden,” Stevens said. “It makes us wonder even more what is in there.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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