Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Land Run

  The famous Land Run of 1889 was itself a form of fraud, as were later runs. The original Indian removal promised land to the Indians "in perpetuity." But the runs, in opening the territory to large-scale settlement by whites, effectively scuttled the basic idea of Indian Territory as Indian land. White settlers were delighted, and the runs have been widely celebrated. Yet for the Indians the runs meant that whites were again breaking solemn promises made to them.

  Fraud also occurred in the practices of Texas cattlemen who drove their herds across the Indian Territory on the way to market. They were supposed to get the permission of the Indians and pay them fair value. But the Indians lived in tribal communities and knew little about private property and market value. The resulting transactions were apt to be to the disadvantage of the Indian landowners.
 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Scandalous Behavior: Trail Of Tears

  Political corruption is not easily defined. The legal definition is clear but unsatisfactory, because the press often refers to ill-defined scandals that cannot be completely ignored. Therefore, it is better to use a broad definition encompassing scandalous behavior by officials who abuse the public trust for reasons not only of personal gain, but also for other reasons that may have serious negative consequences for public affairs. At the outset it merits mention that Oklahoma does not rank as the most corrupt of states. That dubious distinction typically goes to Louisiana. Still, Oklahoma has had outstanding cases of scandal reaching into the highest levels of state government, including the state's Supreme Court and the chief executive.
  As for the historical record, Oklahoma began as Indian Territory in the early 1800s, and much of the nineteenth century was laced with fraud perpetuated against American Indians. The infamous Trail of Tears of the 1830s began in a scheme by federal officials to transfer Indians from their tribal holdings on the east coast, which white settlers sought, to what was then a distant western wilderness. Removal of the Indians was supposed to be voluntary. But voluntary compliance broke down, and officials resorted to force. The resulting forced march by the Indians through winter weather killed men, women, and children by the thousands. This abuse of the public trust by officials surely ranks as one of the most shameful chapters in both national and state history.
 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

Monday, June 29, 2020

At Least We're Not Louisiana

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

In retrospect, several points stand out. The first is that Oklahoma does not deserve a reputation as the most corrupt of states, since Louisiana typically stands out as most deserving of that designation. Second, the state has known some spectacular cases of corruption reaching into the Supreme Court, the governorship, the House speakership, and the whole system of county commissioner government. Third, again and again it has been federal officials who attacked corruption and forced reform. Fourth, there have been some notable recent exceptions to the primacy of federal intervention, one being the case of Gov. David Walters and the other being the school bond scam. Fifth is that in both instances of state action, investigative reporting by the Daily Oklahoman deserves credit as a significant counterweight to the limitations of state and local officials.

The Tulsa World wanted to say;

Dishonorable mention: For those who are counting, we've already listed dozens, but here's one more for good measure. Some will be remembered for improprieties that caused a big to-do at the time but did not result in more than embarrassment. Oklahoma gained some notoriety during a U.S. House check-writing scandal in the early 1990s when representatives were accused of bouncing checks on the House bank. Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards was named as one of the worst offenders with 386 overdrafts. Edwards received a letter, he said, in 1992 informing him that no wrongdoing was found in his case. But voters booted him out of office in 1992. After leaving office, Edwards taught for many years at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Senator Ralph Shortey Charges: Drugs & Solicitation Of A Teen Boy

  Senator Ralph Shortey had been a strong proponent of a 'get tough' criminal justice policy. In fact, when the voters of Oklahoma passed a referendum to reduce simple drug possession from a felony, to a misdemeanor, Shortey led the charge to convince the legislature to nullify that act during the 2017 session. That endeavor failed in a dramatic way.
  With spring break approaching, Ralph was approached by a teen male whom he had developed a relationship. Shortey had been volunteering at  a local youth program, in Moore, OK; and had many such contacts. The boy wanted some spending money and Ralph texted back, inquiring if he was open to "sex stuff".

  The text was intercepted by the boy's girlfriend, who alerted the boy's parents. They found Senator Shortey and the boy at a local hotel, and police eventually convinced Shortey to come out.  Police reports indicate that the room's air was strong with the stench of marijuana smoke.
  Multiple charges were filed within days and the Senate revoked all of Shortey's privileges.
Shortey resigned his seat and began preparations for a criminal trial.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Dan Kirby Resigns Amid Sex Scandals

Fourkiller & Kirby pose with the woman
who ended Kirby's political career.
In the final days of the Jeff Hickman speakership, A payout was made to settle a sexual harassment complaint. the item was discovered by media outlets and the matter turned into a major sex scandal & multiple investigations.
When it was over, Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa) had resigned to avoid a first-ever expulsion vote. Rep. Will Fourkiller (D-Tahlequah) had been ordered to stay away from minor female pages.
The sexual harassment complaint came from a young woman legislative assistant who had been reassigned to Kirby when she was rumored to be having an affair with her previous assignment, Randy Grau. Rep Grau left the legislature and averted a divorce with his wife.
  But it was a 2nd legislative assistant who provided the most damning evidence. She provided evidence of a pattern of Kirby's pressure toward her, to provide sexually explicit sexting photos of herself. She further described how Kirby provided strippers for the assistant, at a nude dance hall.
  Fourkiller was repremanded for his inappropriate conduct with minor girls who were assigned to the state legislature, as an educational program.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Dan Sullivan Disgrace & Golden Hammock

The Red Dirt Report shared the following..
During an interview With OKC radio host, Scott Mitchell; Randy Terrill talked about “reprehensible conduct” taking place at the capitol involving House members having sex with staffers and House members working on the House floor while drinking vodka and impaired voting.
“More than half-a-dozen members partake of a drink in late night sessions. Some have come back impaired after a late dinner – something that is specifically prohibited by House rules. Those found guilty of habitual drunkenness can be impeached,” noted Terrill. “How about House members? Our majority floor leader Dan Sullivan who had sex, an extra-marital affair with his chief judiciary staffer, his chief attorney when he was chair of the judiciary committee before he became the majority floor leader and then subsequently arranged for her to have a job, ultimately on the state payroll regulating insurance companies.”
Terrill would later confirm with Red Dirt Report that the staffer who allegedly benefitted was a Tulsa attorney named Melanie Pouncey. Pouncey, explained Terrill, was chief legal counsel to the judiciary committee when Sullivan was chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Terrill said Sullivan then moved off the Judiciary Committee and became chair of the Economic Development Committee, all the while he was allegedly having the affair.
Dan Sullivan and Janet Sullivan have since divorced and he is now reportedly married to Pouncey, who had become pregnant. After the House leadership caught wind of Sullivan’s behavior, then-Speaker Chris Benge made sure that fraternization with a staff member was a big no-no. So, technically, Sullivan didn’t break any rules and the story was never picked up by the media.
Eventually, Speaker Kris Steele & his team were leveraged out of power. Dan Sullivan sought an opening to lead the Grand River Dam Authority, and was eventually named to that post. He spent the next several years in that cushy appointment.
Read more, here..

Thursday, June 11, 2020

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..