Calling it "perverted", the former Attorney General of the Reagan administration said that his original policy draft has become "legalized theft". He said that a conviction must be attained, or it's equivalent, before any associated ill-gotten gains can be confiscated permanently. He also added that any such funds must go to an appropriating process rather than to a slush fund of cops or prosecutors. Meese had many other comments and we will elaborate more in the hours to come.
The Oklahoman & Tulsa World are reporting of a lawsuit recently filed against the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office, and The State Auditor & Inspector's Office. It seeks to unseal a 3-year-old audit that Pruitt asked for, and then sealed without a single charge being pressed. The people of Oklahoma paid for that audit and Auditor Gary Jones has long ago called for the study to be released in the public interest. Pruitt's actions put a gag order on Gary Jones for several years. Mike Hunter also renewed that gag order. Even though this suit names the State Auditor, make no mistake, the AG's office is the target. Tar Creek is the infamous toxic waste site near Picher, in far northeastern Oklahoma. Massive amounts of money have been spent on cleaning up the site and sealing the location as a ghost town. This is perhaps the biggest oversight task Pruitt had on his plate regarding environmental protection for Oklahoma. If it shows that he compromised the public trust, he could face renewed and substantive criticism about his fitness to protect the nation's environment. One insider told me; Look at the names associated with those Tar Creek clean up contracts, and see which of them are also named as contributors to Scott Pruitt's campaign funding.
Picher was a mining town along the Tar Creek watershed. It is now a ghost town. The Lead & Zinc levels now make it uninhabitable.
The special election to replace the disgraced Bryce Marlatt in the Oklahoma Senate is getting muddy. Casey Murdock is now launching a speculative attack on one of the most dedicated champions of the Republican Platform, Carolyn McLarty. Dr. McLarty has been an effective defender of Oklahoma fiscal and social conservatism as a member of the Republican National Committee & Chairing a subcommittee of the national party's platform committee.
OKGOP leaders have expressed great disappointment at Murdock's besmirching of the retired veterinary physician from Woodward. McLarty has long been an active member of Oklahoma Eagle Forum and the Federation of Republican Women.
McLarty's advocacy for traditional conservative values is far more reliable than is Murdock's shameful score of just 10% Conservative in the 2017 Conservative Index, and he scored a ZERO % Republican in the RINO Index for 2017.
Former Attorney General, Ed Meese, is coming to Eastern Oklahoma for a series of town hall meetings on the challenges and solutions for America's future. Meese was a highly trusted personal friend of Ronald Reagan from the first days of Reagan's first term in the California Governor's office. Perhaps no one alive knows more about Reagan's bedrock values and decision-making process than does Ed Meese.
Former Reagan adviser and journalist David Gergen said, "He's a tremendously influential and highly valued adviser to the President who advises on issues all across the board. He's one of the men who has known the President so long and so well he's become almost an alter ego of Ronald Reagan."
The upcoming town hall meetings will be in Bartlesville on Tuesday, and at Tulsa's ORU campus on Wednesday. They are campaign events for Andy Coleman, whom Meese is endorsing in the expected special election to replace 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine. Bridenstine has been nominated to lead NASA & is awaiting a final confirmation vote of the full senate. The details of the Oklahoma meetings are listed here.
Former U.S. Attorney and GOP candidate for Governor, Gary Richardson, is calling on leaders at the Capitol to support his demand for audits of every state agency. Richardson earned a national reputation for aggressively prosecuting corruption during his time as a U.S Attorney.
“We were only able to prosecute those corruption cases because we had data from the audits,” Gary Richardson says. “We will never be able to solve the budget crisis in Oklahoma if we don’t have a solid handle on what the problems are. Our state leaders are like doctors trying to treat a patient without a diagnosis. Until we know the cause of the illness, which we could quickly learn from mandatory audits of state agencies, we can’t hope for a cure.”
Gary Richardson began his crusade for statewide audits when he ran for Governor in 2002.
“The financial scandals at the Health Department, Tourism Commission and Department of Agriculture should be a wake-up call to every Oklahoman,” says Richardson.
Dear Leaders of the Legislature, The role of oversight is a historic responsibility of the legislature. My hat's off to the leadership for the renewed effort toward due diligence. This is just one of many duties that have been diminishing over the past several years. Sadly, it falls upon your whole team to clean up yet another inherited condition. I find it outrageous that people would imply that you're calling anyone a crook and/or incompetent. But this is the day when folks rush to claim the coveted 'victim' status.
Spending 1% on oversight, is the best way to maximize the effectiveness of the other 99%. So please don't buy the line that "we can't afford to audit the performance of agencies".
And never forget that it's 'the credible threat of an audit', which deters far more bad actions than are ever actually committed.
- David Van Risseghem Publisher of Sooner Politics
John Bennett is one of several speakers who have addressed the great need for cleaning up the agencies and the legislative appropriations process.
Rep. John Bennett was in Tulsa last night to speak to the Tulsa Area Republican Assembly's monthly meeting. He told the dozens of members that he will work with the House efforts to step up oversight of state agencies and seek to find more opportunities to reform the agencies and eliminate wasteful practices. The Tulsa World sent Journalist Randy Krehbiel to cover the address. You can read his report at the Tulsa World. Several other lawmakers and candidates were in attendance. Bennett commended the advocacy of former Federal Prosecutor Gary Richardson, the dedication of Rep. Scott McEachin, and the leadership of Senator Nathan Dahm. Bennett began his remarks with a narrative of his upbringing in Vian, OK and his career in the US Marines. He transitioned to how he discovered that he wasn't a Democrat. It was a very spiritual narrative, from the seminary-trained lay minister. He expressed the calling which led him to enter public service in state government. He took several questions from the crowded hall and often elaborated on budgetary and other state policy matters in his responses to the audience. The TARA organization provided a video of the meeting, which is available here.
The Senate Majority Whip, Nathan Dahm, recently discussed the bad behavior and instability of the current governor, Mary Fallin.
Dahm spoke early Monday morning on Tulsa Talk Radio KFAQ. In that conversation with host Pat Campbell, a clip from the Sunday evening interview with House Majority Whip, Terry O'Donnell was referenced.
Both the Senate & House leaders are navigating their course as we speak.
Senator Dahm suggests a possible call of the House & Senate, to special session, and ignoring the Governor's expected call, all together. That can be done with a 2/3 vote of each house, which is also enough to sustain an expected repeat veto of a duplicate budget bill..
House Whip Terry O'Donnell & Senate Whip Nathan Dahm discussed the Governor's behavior on KFAQ Radio
A legislature which cannot help but to pander, is responsible for the massive growth of deficit spending in Oklahoma. For decades the Federal govt. has been practicing this same corrupted principle. Ever since Davy Crockett lost his Tennessee seat in the US Congress over a widow's pension vote; the bigger govt. has always fallen sucker to those who wish to suck off the big sow instead of growing up past the point where weaning should have occurred. Oklahoma schools eat up half our state treasury. If Alfalfa Murray had any inkling of this inevitability, there would have been yet another section in the state constitution to forbid the state from bearing the cost of an "Independent School District". Now the counties are crying over money for bridges and road projects..
The Speaker of the House, Charles McCall; and the Senate President Pro temp, Mike Schultz; are currently pondering the next steps needed to take charge of the state government. One thing is clear,.... they can no longer wait and defer to the governor to hand them a road map for a special session.
Last Friday the many members of the legislature were ready to go home. They'd spent 8 weeks wrestling with a budget shortfall from a misapplication of a new tax.
But an unexpected twist happened when the state dept. of health had an economic collapse from a severe mismanagement which had gone on for years.
Even while the State Auditor & State Attorney General are investigating the depth & breadth of the agency's corruption and/or ineptness, The agency board turned to the former OMES director, Preston Doerflinger, to run the day-to-day operations.
But the legislature needs to set it's own terms and direction in this new 2nd special session. They MUST NOT be constrained by the governor's dictates.
House Speaker Charles McCall & Senate Pro temp Mike Schultz.
With the news of Gov. Fallin vetoing the budget that came out of the special session a few days ago, there were a lot of livid people across the state. I think many were faced with one primary lingering question including some elected officials: Is it time to talk about impeaching the governor of Oklahoma? If you live in the state of Oklahoma, you may be aware of the special session that has been dragging on for weeks. Lawmakers, including Governor Fallin, appear to be hell-bent on raising taxes. It became blatantly obvious that the legislature didn't have the appetite to raise the majority of those taxes despite arm-twisting by the governor and others. After weeks of going back and forth, the budget deal that was produced was an imperfect compromise. The bill passed both chambers and then headed to the governor's mansion for her signature. The governor responded to the bill by vetoing large portions of it which sent shockwaves of frustration across oklahoma.
Is this the breaking point for lawmakers? How did this bill come about? I'm told by sources, this bill came to fruition with the governor's approval. I'm also told she practically sat at the table while this plan was hashed out. So you could imagine the dismay that swept the capital when the governor vetoed large portions of the bill. The governor is no stranger to promising lawmakers to sign legislation then reneging on that promise seemingly for no real reason.
Kevin & Janelle Batts are natives of southern Oklahoma and publish the Red River Chronicle. While pursuing business ventures in the lone star state, they continue to be engaged in Sooner state issues. This is a recent review of the failed efforts of several state leaders, to find a way to work with this governor in a productive & cooperative way.
Will the Legislature Override a Budget Veto? We will see. But the governor decided to cut up the several dozen sections and create a partial bill, which she signed as partially meeting her own objectives. This much is clear; she doesn't care how much further debt she creates by these special sessions. A new special session is likely to result in a similar budget which she can either sign or veto. We have not had this degree of disconnect with an Oklahoma governor since Henry Bellmon's last year in office(1990). The hostage crisis continues for every agency and every Oklahoman who cares about the bond rating which Oklahoma may be penalized with, because of the instability of our process. At some point, talk of incompetence will arise and with it will come a growing call for an Article 8 action from our House Speaker. We cannot sustain this display of obstinacy into another year of budget making. These hissy-fits must be called out by real leaders.
Gov. Mary Fallin faces the reality that she is defeated in her attempt to raise nearly $2 billion in new taxes, this year. She tried in February. She tried in September. Each time she opened the legislative session, she threatened, she cajoled, she pontificated.
But each time she failed. Now she sits alone as the legislature goes home and sends her a bill which cuts more spending than raise new taxes.
If she vetoes this bill, she will face an upheaval that could turn ugly.
The photo was posted on twitter by a capitol observer. You can see Reps. Bennett, Munson, Blancett, Stone, Nichols, & Virgin; in the back row.
With much grumbling, the senate approved the budget created by the House. The Platform Caucus supported this version as a responsible start to a difficult process. The senate adjourned within minutes, sine die. The people are relieved of the threat of higher taxes and greater restrictions on their liberty.
We recently moved our blog. Our archives are still partially stored at our old site.
David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...