Monday, December 11, 2017

Gene Stipe Dies In Prison

  After 50 years at the height of political power, Gene Stipe was taken down when term limits started bringing in Republicans to state government in sufficient volume to keep an eye on the "good ol' boys".
  The Tulsa World said;

 Gene Stipe: The McAlester Democrat is served a five-year probationary sentence for federal campaign violations and perjury and is in trouble again. After having served more than 50 years in political office, Stipe allegedly continued to hatch political campaign schemes by reimbursing "straw donors" who funneled money to Democratic campaigns. 
  In the long run, Stipe, 81, may not be remembered so much for his recent problems, at least in his old stomping grounds in southeastern Oklahoma's "Little Dixie," said Keith Gaddie, political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. At his height, Stipe "was such a colorful character," Gaddie said. Stipe fit the role of "the old-line, rural politician, the cigar-chomping country lawyer" who had a charismatic quality inside the courtroom, he said. 

State Auditor, Jeff McMahan, Goes To Prison

The Daily Oklahoman posted coverage of the McMahan scandal. Here is an exerpt:
Jeff McMahan was sentenced to eight years and a month for taking bribes from a southeast Oklahoma businessman. Wife, Lori McMahan, was sentenced to six years and six months on related charges.
"I am saddened when the political process is corrupted. Seeing people imprisoned generates mixed prosecutorial emotions,” U.S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling said Friday.
Jeff McMahan, a Democrat, was accused of showing favoritism as auditor to businessman Steve Phipps in exchange for cash, jewelry, campaign contributions, fishing trips, and trips to places like New Orleans and Boston.
The former state official was convicted of three felony counts June 14. He resigned two days later.
Sperling said after the sentencing that the McMahans were convicted of conspiracy to commit "dishonest public service mail fraud” and of racketeering through illicit interstate travel.
The charges stemmed from an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the state Ethics Commission. Sperling said Friday he was "impressed” the prosecution led to legal reform.
"The state auditor’s office no longer has authority over abstract companies,” he said. "A huge temptation towards corruption has been statutorily removed.”
Read The Oklahoman's Full account at: http://newsok.com/ 
OKGOP State Chairman, Gary Jones; posted this assessment:

Anatomy of a Scandal

July 29, 2007
  Larry Witt and Steve Phipps conspired to funnel corporate contributions into the 2002 State Auditor campaign of Jeff McMahan. FBI affidavits and witnesses have testified that such money was paid to them for the purpose making said contributions. Estimated totals range from $75,000-$100,000. These funds made up a large portion of McMahan’s total contributions and had a significant impact on the election results.
  Steve Phipps met on numerous occasions in the office of the State Auditor with legislators including Mike Mass to discuss and arrange for state funds to be funneled into a scam non-profit foundation, Rural Development Foundation, located in an abstract company owned by Phipps and Gene Stripe in Antlers, Oklahoma. Both Mass and Phipps have pleaded guilty to federal charges and are now waiting sentencing to connection to the scheme. 
Read more, here..

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Oklahoma Legislator, Randy Terrill; Found Guilty of Political Bribery

Former Speaker, Randy Terrill
  Rep., Randy Terrill was convicted in 2013 after prosecutors said he offered a bribe to Leftwich, a Democrat, to withdraw from her race for Senate so Terrill’s friend, Rep. Mike Christian, could seek the office.
  Terrill was sentenced to 1 year in prison and required to $5,000 fine. Leftwich was found guilty of soliciting a bribe during a bench trial — the judge found her guilty instead of a jury — and was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered never to seek a job with the state or run for public office again.
Former Sen. Debbe Leftwich
  Prosecutors said Terrill pushed officials with the state Medical Examiner’s Office to create an $80,000 per year position for Leftwich.
  The court rejected Terrill’s claim that a candidate for office cannot withdraw from office without filing a notice of withdrawal with the proper election board.
  “Taking the evidence in the light most favorable to the state, any rational trier of fact could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Terrill bribed Leftwich by offering her a thing of value which caused her to withdraw from her reelection race,” Smith wrote.
  Terrill, from Moore, served in the state House from 2004 to 2012. Leftwich, of Oklahoma City, was a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 2003 until 2010.
  Both Leftwich and Terrill had appealed the District Court’s ruling, claiming that Leftwich was never a candidate for office, because she had not filed for re-election with the state Election Board. Records showed, however, that Leftwich had begun to raise money for a reelection campaign.
  Writing for the majority, Presiding Judge Clancy Smith said the law and evidence from the bribery and corruption trial of former state Rep. Randy Terrill did not require relief.
  The court, in a separate opinion, also turned back an appeal by former state Senator Debbe Leftwich.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Governor Walters' Felony Dismissed In Plea Bargain

Gov. David Walters stands before
District Judge John Amick in Oklahoma County
District Court as he pleads guilty to one
misdemeanor count of violating state
campaign finance laws.
 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;
  Then in 1990 a scandal emerged from the gubernatorial campaign of winner, Democrat David Walters. Walters won, but the campaign was accompanied by a barrage of press reports that he had raised and spent more money that any previous candidate. Investigations by the state attorney general and Oklahoma County district attorney led to charges of campaign violations. Walters finally pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Critics attacked the outcome as letting him escape too easily from more serious charges. Still, the publicity probably moderated some of the worst excesses of campaign finance. And in this case reform had occurred with little federal intervention, in itself a significant gain.
  One of the more prominent politicians convicted in the last 25 years of the state's history was former Gov. David Walters. Walters pleaded guilty in 1993 to a misdemeanor charge of violating a state campaign law in a plea agreement that dismissed eight felony charges of conspiracy and perjury. The conviction also led to his decision not to run for governor again. Walters, a Democrat, became president of Walters Power International, a company that provides huge electricity-generating mobile plants sometimes located in remote regions.  

Insurance Commissioner Shakes Down Citizens For Free Furniture

The Tulsa World said;

Free furniture: In 2007, Carroll Fisher, former state insurance commissioner, started serving a 14-month prison term after he was caught depositing a $1,000 campaign contribution from his state campaign funds into his personal bank account when it was overdrawn in 2003. Fisher was reprimanded by the State Ethics Commission for soliciting office furniture from those he regulated. The governor said that Fisher could not keep more than $33,000 worth of furniture, artwork and kitchen equipment he had sought as "gifts to the state." 

Carroll Fisher was then sentenced in 2009, in a bribery case, to six months in a private lock-down facility in Tulsa.

Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Watson spared Fisher, 69, from more time in state prison. Defense attorneys argued the former official already has been punished and humiliated enough.

"This is a man who has been very much humbled by what he’s experienced,” defense attorney Bob Wyatt said.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Joel-lyn McCormick, had asked that Fisher get seven more years in prison for his breach of the public trust. The judge decided the punishment after Fisher pleaded no contest to accepting bribes. The bribery trial had been set to begin Feb. 23.

Fisher was ordered to report March 2, 2009 to the Riverside Intermediate Sanction Facility in Tulsa. He must pay for his stay. The judge said Fisher can participate there in a work-release program. Fisher will be on probation for four years and six months after his release and must complete 150 hours of community service. He also must pay $5,000 to the state Victims Compensation Fund.

The judge agreed Fisher’s future already had been ruined by his earlier felony conviction in a campaign-corruption case. After losing an appeal, Fisher spent about 14 months in prison in that case. The judge noted prison records show Fisher apparently suffered the embarrassment of his grandchildren seeing him imprisoned there.


Friday, November 24, 2017

A Psychic Oklahoma Governor, & His Demise

 Psychics have always had their opponents and their adherents. One fan of such things was a former governor in the 1920s

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;
  After Walton was thrown out in his first year, through impeachment, the next freely elected governor in 1926 was Henry S. Johnston, who suffered a fate similar to Walton's, although not because of criminal misconduct. He spent much time in his office reportedly engaged in solitary meditation and consultation with his personal astrologer. His administrative assistant had a room full of caged canaries with whom he claimed to communicate. The governor's personal secretary ran a tight ship that effectively cut off legislators wanting to discuss vital patronage matters. Legislators became furious and, in keeping with these turbulent times, ousted Johnston from office in January 1929. Thus by this early date the young state had removed two sitting governors from office, a record not matched by any other state until much later.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Oklahoma's First Impeachment of a Governor

Some say this man should have been in the entertainment business, or perhaps an evangelist? But his antics led to his quick exit from state high office.

 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;
  The period of the 1920s and 1930s was one of bitter political strife. Martial law was invoked repeatedly, and two sitting governors were removed from office. Jack Walton was the first to be removed. Elected in 1920, he ran a spectacular campaign heavy in showmanship. But in office he was a disaster. He publicly fought the Klan yet unofficially colluded with them. He wildly extended patronage powers to appoint college presidents and professors, arousing intense opposition. He invoked martial law and at one point had the whole state under martial law. Inaugurated on January 9, 1923, he was impeached and was removed from office in the same year on November 23.