Gov. Kevin Stitt’s purchase of $2 million worth of hydroxychloroquine is now the subject of an audit requested by state attorney general Mike Hunter.
Based on recent reports of conservative organizations, quack doctors and President Donald Trump pushing the malaria drug as a snake oil-style coronavirus treatment, Stitt is exceptionally worthy of the audit.
Last month, Hunter requested that state Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd carry out an investigative audit of the state health department’s COVID-19 expenditures, including the hydroxychloroquine purchase. That purchase came roughly two weeks after a number of disreputable sources began pushing the drug as a miracle cure.
The following is a hydroxychloroquine timeline:
- March 13 – Blockchain investor James Todaro and attorney Gregory Rigano claim in a Google doc Todaro shared on Twitter that “there is growing evidence of Chloroquine (sic) as a highly effective treatment for COVID-19.”
- March 16 – Rodaro is a guest on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, hosted by Laura Ingraham.
- mid-March – According to The New York Times and several other sources, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison promoted hydroxychloroquine to Trump during a phone call. Ellison is a key donor and supporter of Trump.
- March 20 – Ingraham beats the drum for hydroxychloroquine on her show, saying “the FDA needs to hop onto this pronto.” The same day, Dr. Mehmet Oz promotes the drug on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight.
- March 21 – President Donald Trump tweets, “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine.” According to The New York Times, Trump is an investor in Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company that produces the drug. Other investors in Sanofi include commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and Trump billionaire mega-donor Ken Fisher.
- March 22 – Trump adviser Steve Bannon tells Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that “Bernie Marcus’ Job Creators Network has a plan of forcing cash into the system.”
- March 23 – Job Creators Network, a “dark money” group headed by Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, collaborates with anti-Affordable Care Act group Physicians for Reform in rolling out Facebook ads for a petition that “will go directly to President Trump” to have the Food and Drug Administration approve hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. Physicians for Reform is associated with FreedomWorks, the astroturfing political action committee that jump-started the Tea Party movement in 2009 and organized many of the current “reopen” protests at state capitol buildings.
- April 2 – Infectious disease specialist, hydroxychloroquine advocate and member of Ingraham’s so-called “medicine cabinet,” Dr. Stephen Smith appears on The Ingraham Angle and tells viewers, “I think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I’m very serious.”
- April 3 Ingraham, Smith and fellow “medicine cabinet” member/cardiologist Ramin Oskoui secure a face-to-face meeting with Trump in the White House. According to The Washington Post, Trump insisted that FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn attend the meeting.
- April 4 – Stitt’s health department orders $2 million worth of hydroxychloroquine from FFF Enterprises in Temecula, California.
In essence, a rogue’s gallery of bad actors in medicine, media, politics, commerce and technology pushed hydroxychloroquine to Trump, and the day after Laura Ingraham and some TV doctors meet with Trump and an FDA commissioner on the drug, Stitt goes all-in with $2 million from Oklahoma taxpayers.
On April 28, Stitt told Oklahoma City Free Press and other media outlets in a news conference that when he signed off on the purchase, “I was being proactive and to try to protect Oklahomans.”
Six weeks earlier, Stitt was mugging for a selfie with his children at The Collective OKC, displaying total lack of concern over COVID-19. This weekend, The Lost Ogle published a photograph of Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt in a Target not wearing a protective mask. This behavior is what passes for “being proactive” in the Stitt family.
The only coordinated effort taking place is the statements from health officials in Oklahoma and Utah, which is in similar hot water for spending $800,000 on a hydroxychloroquine/zinc compound. This is how Oklahoma secretary of health Jerome Loughridge described the process leading up to the $2 million expenditure:
“When we were battling sort of the fog of war at that point, we certainly acquired it on the potential that it would have utility,” Loughridge said.
Now, this is what Utah health department coronavirus task force head Jeff Burton said about his own state’s folly:
“I chalk it up to fog of war,” Burton said.
If this is not a coordinated defense strategy, it certainly sounds and reads like one.
But here is the element that makes Stitt’s actions look irresponsible at best, downright stupid and incompetent at worst: As Time magazine reported on April 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency distributed 28.6 million to states free of charge. If Oklahoma wanted a huge quantity of a drug with unproven efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19, apparently the state could have had it for free.
Instead, $2 million went to a company in California.
With the announcement of the investigative audit, it seems clear that Hunter smells a rat. The Stitt Administration looks like the infestation source.