A taxpayer-funded school district superintendent in a small Oklahoma town made several questionable purchases on a yearlong spending extravaganza using a purchasing card provided by the school district.
Among much else, Gore acquired “Hillary 2016” merchandise as part of her spending spree using public school credit.
She bought her Hillary-for-president-themed objects at a Washington, D.C. airport on Nov. 20, 2014, records obtained by the News-Capital under an open records request show.
Two receipts describe the merchandise as Hillary 2016 and “Hillary Slant.” One of the two receipts — for four items — totaled $41.08.
The superintendent bought many other items — more than $4,500 worth — with her purchasing card over a 12-month period from May 2014 to May 2015.
Gore helped herself to a car battery at NAPA Auto Parts in McAlester for $139.99 using the school district purchasing card. She was able to avoid paying any sales tax on the battery, apparently because she used the card. As the local newspaper notes, part of the sales tax would have gone to the school district.
The superintendent also spent over $1,000 on food using purchasing card. Some of it was for catered school district events. Other food charges include $47.99 at P.F. Chang’s in Tulsa, $43.36 at Catfish Cove over in Fort Smith, Ark. and a stop at the local Taco Bob’s.
Additionally, she bought stuff using her school-provided purchasing card at Hobby Lobby and many other stores in McAlester (pop.: 17,783).
Gore did reimburse the school district for some purchases. For example, she wrote a check to the school district for the cost of the tax-free car battery 11 days later. Also, the receipt for the $41.08 in Hillary Clinton wares contains a handwritten notation saying “Marsha Gore check $41.08.”
Gore provided the News-Capital with a receipt showing she reimbursed the district $514.72 on Sept. 30, 2015. She did not say why.
“Dr. Gore has no comment at this time,” a school district spokesman told the News-Capital.
The total extent of her repayment remains unclear.
Purchasing cards — like the one Gore used to buy Hillary Clinton campaign paraphernalia — are usually provided to employees for the express purpose of buying goods and services related to their jobs. The benefit is that the purchases can be processed through the existing, normalized credit card infrastructure. Typically, employees only use purchasing cards under organizational policies. Organizations approve the transactions on a monthly basis or on some other scheduled basis.
The News-Capital started investigating local district finances after Gore reassigned a former treasurer.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is currently conducting its own investigation into possible “white-collar crime” by an unidentified employee of the McAlester school district, the paper notes.