An old retired Oklahoma attorney is keeping the legislature accountable. His name is Jerry Fent.
So far, Jerry believes he has saved the Oklahoma taxpayers nearly half a billion dollars.
Jerry often pays the $200 filing fee out of his own pocket. He still has not recovered a single dime of attorney fees on any case he has won.
"Every time I see some statute here in Oklahoma being approved by the Legislature, which appears to be unconstitutional, I will look into it and see if I can recognize the elements of unconstitutionality and maybe file a lawsuit,”
Among Jerry's biggest efforts has been the bad habit of legislative logrolling (where lawmakers add pork-barrel clauses or other tag-along measures to bills intended completely for unrelated matters.
Not everyone likes the outcome of Jerry's work. He's aware of that. But he believes that respect for the constitution is of great importance to our state's future.
Fent was born in Tulsa, but spent much of his legal career working for the OKC city govt. He specialized in eminent domain issues. Jerry sat down for an interview with the Oklahoman. You can read that interview, here.
Last December, Fent filed yet another suit against the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. He claims that the funding mechanism for the proposed $480 million Driving Forward turnpike program violated the constitution by logrolling (combining more than one project at a time) and perpetuity (never paying for it completely.) He had both sued the OTA at the state high court, and appeared as a protestor to the OTA’s bond funding request.