Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Tulsa Race Riot Cover Up

  Not many years after 1907 statehood, a race riot in 1921 convulsed Tulsa. The triggering event, inflamed by local newspaper reports, was an accusation that a black man had sexually assaulted a white woman. Racial tensions, abetted by growing Ku Klux Klan activities, had been on the rise for some time. Some commentators have described the riot as one of the nation's worst. The body count is uncertain but ranges from seventy or eighty to as many as three hundred. A destructive fire raged through the Greenwood District, destroying homes and a prosperous business section. Thousands of blacks were rounded up as "suspects" and jailed, some for a week or so. At the time, many whites reacted with horror. But a veil of denial, created mainly by public officials, descended.


History books usually gave this episode only passing mention. Not until the late 1990s was the riot reexamined and made the subject of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission that undertook further inquiry, including consideration of possible reparations. Whatever else might be said, the veil of denial had been lifted.


Here's a research paper, presented by an undergrad student at the University of Tulsa, nearly 70 years later.

THE TULSA RACE RIOT OF 1921

BY I. MARC CARLSON

  The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 is a little-known and somewhat misunderstood event in the history of the United States. It is generally considered, on those rare occasions it is discussed, to have been an isolated event in Tulsa's past that resulted in death and considerable destruction. The theories about what happened and why are divers and often conflicting. With the paucity of information available, it is difficult to determine absolutely the course of events. Enough evidence exists, however, to justify the drawing of certain limited conclusions.The conclusions presented in this paper stem from a view the Tulsa Race Riot, not as a single occurrence, but as two separate but linked events. Each event evolved from separate sets of causes. Each set of causes originated in the social context that existed prior to the events. It should be possible to determine some of these causes and from there interpolate other logical causes.In the years bridging the second and third decades of the twentieth century, episodes of racial tension and violence were frequent. In July of 1917, East St. Louis, Illinois erupted into a bloody battle between blacks and whites after an aluminum plant began to hire black workers to break a strike.

Read more, here...

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Oklahoma County Commissioner Scandal

  When Republican President, Ronald Reagan started appointing conservative federal prosecutors and judges, The Democrats who ran Oklahoma began to sweat. Eventually, the IRS notified the Justice Department about fake billing invoices to county commissioners. Bill Price was one such federal prosecutor. After he sent scores of county commissioners to jail, he ran for governor. Sadly he lost, due to more corruption in David Walter's campaign funding.

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

Bill Price prosecuted most of the County Commissioners
In 1980 a huge scandal erupted stemming from the conviction of some 220 county commissioners and suppliers. Their convictions rose from involvement in a scheme of kickbacks paid on orders for county road-building supplies such as timber and gravel. The scandal reached all across the state in roughly sixty counties large and small, urban and rural. It had been going on for as long as anyone could remember. Again, federal officials rooted out the corruption.

The Tulsa World said;

  1981 Undoubtedly the year's biggest story also was a big one nationally: The far-reaching county commissioner scandal, essentially a kickback scheme among suppliers and commissioners, began to unfold. It was described as the largest case of public corruption in the nation. All but a handful of the state's 77 counties were involved. Commissioners resigned in 69 counties; 13 counties lost all their commissioners in the wake of the scandal, unearthed by federal investigators. Over the next year, 240 commissioners, former commissioners and material suppliers would be implicated before the scandal drew to a close.


Old-time politics in the Southern tradition reared its head in Oklahoma big time when dozens of "good ol' boy" county commissioners were convicted of taking kickbacks. The scandal played out in the early 1980s, serving as a textbook example for political scientists of what power and money can do to common folks elected to public office where they have access to taxpayers' money. "The funny thing is that the corruption was generally accepted," Gaddie said. It was common practice that commissioners received a 10 percent kickback from key vendors, but when the ante was upped to 15 percent or more, it was discovered.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Speaker, Dan Draper, Convicted Of Election Fraud, In 1983


The Oklahoma Speaker, Dan Draper, was convicted in 1983 for election tampering. He was trying to help his father win a seat in the Oklahoma legislature.

The Tulsa World reported; 1983
Then-House Speaker Dan Draper's troubles began in 1983. He and House Majority Floor Leader Joe Fitzgibbon initially were convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly fixing absentee ballots to help Draper's father in an unsuccessful race for a House seat. Draper and Fitzgibbon later won new trials (in 1985), but a federal judge dismissed the charges at the behest of U.S. Attorney Roger Hilfiger. Muskogee Democrat Jim Barker became the new speaker thanks to Draper's troubles.


Draper was further convicted in 1984. the Tulsa World said;
  Dan Draper ended up in more trouble. He was arrested in February when a police officer found him slumped over the wheel of his car. He pleaded no contest to actual physical control while intoxicated, a charge later amended to a lesser offense after a year of probation.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

John Rogers & Son Leave High Offices, In Disgrace

  John Rogers was elected examiner and inspector in 1958 and won re-election four times until his defeat by Tom Daxon in 1978, the year the job was changed to that of auditor and inspector.

  He had narrowly been re-elected four years earlier after a legislative committee and a federal grand jury received evidence that his employees had received raises based on their campaign contributions for Gov. David Hall during Hall's successful 1970 campaign.

  Rogers and his son, then-Secretary of State John Rogers Jr., were called before the grand jury investigating Gov. Hall just weeks before the 1974 election. Both refused to answer questions and invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

  The allegations produced no charges against Rogers or his son.  Nonetheless, they set off a chain of events which ultimately led to Hall's conviction on bribery and extortion charges and the resignation of John Rogers Jr. under threat of impeachment.

  In 1977, the Office of Revenue Sharing of the U.S. Department of Treasury accused the elder Rogers of not following proper auditing procedures.

  It was also alleged about that time that he again had had employees donate one-third of their salaries under a formula to his re-election bid. Such allegations had been raised every few years against Rogers Sr. since 1960. His brother, Will Rogers, no relation to the humorist, served 10 years in Congress.

  In 1975 Rogers jr. resigned before the start of a Senate trial after the House voted to impeach him. Rogers was accused of numerous wrongs including closing his office on the last day that a referendum petition could be delivered to his office.

  Rogers Sr. died in '82; Rogers Jr. died in '08.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Oklahoma Governor Goes To Prison

David Hall:


David Hall passed away in 2016. He has been living quietly since he left public life on his way to prison.

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society, posted this recap..
After the terrible governorships of the late 20s & early 30's, it wasn't until the 1960s that major scandals again surfaced, and then they did so with a vengeance. Three justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court were removed from office by impeachment or resignation arising from IRS investigations of reports that justices were taking kickbacks for favorable decisions. A powerful former speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, who had been a dominant figure in state government, was convicted and sent to jail as a result of IRS investigations arising from charges that he failed to report income received in return for political favors. Then in 1975 a former governor, David Hall, was convicted, shortly after leaving office, of misusing his powers of office by trying to direct a state retirement fund to help a friend with a loan. Again, federal officials were the chief agents in cleaning up the corruption.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Impeachment and Imprisonment Of 3 Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices

Fifty years ago, Oklahomans were humiliated by revelations that three state Supreme Court justices had accepted bribes. Former Justices N.S. Corn, Earl Welch and N.B. Johnson served jail time for their criminal actions.

Judicial Scandal

  In 1965, scandal burst forth in an unusual setting, the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Three judges were implicated in taking payoffs to decide cases before the court. These three judges were either convicted in court or impeached. IRS inquiries laid much of the groundwork.


One of the guilty judges, N.S. Corn, became contrite and publicly described his misbehavior. He admitted that over about 20 years of taking payoff, he could not recall one single year in which he had not taken a payoff. Professor Phillip M. Simpson of Cameron University has researched one spectacular payoff case in which "Corn . swore that he had received $150,000 in $100 bills ... in a downtown Oklahoma City

meeting .... The attorney who had established the pattern with Corn was O.A. Cargill, former Oklahoma City mayor and Corn's friend for 50 years." This corruption obviously reached into the highest levels and included citizens usually deemed quite respectable.

Corn, Welch and Johnson had been elected, and re-elected, to their high positions by the people. The shame cast on our state by their misconduct was the fuel for a judicial reform movement led

The Sneed Plan, calling for the appointment, not election, of our appellate judges, passed as a constitutional amendment in 1967. Missing from the Sneed Plan were district court judges who remain elected officials to this day.

The Sneed Plan established the Judicial Nominating Commission, composed of 15 members. It has six lawyers, elected by the lawyers, six laypersons appointed by the governor, plus three more laypersons, one selected by the members of the commission, one selected by the House speaker and one selected by the president pro tem of the Senate.
Read more, here..

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Speaker McCarty's 1960s Bribery Machine

  A 1950s major scandal centered on the former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, J.D. McCarty.

 The speaker is normally a powerful figure, and McCarty was more so than usual because he happened to serve during the term of the state's first Republican governor, Henry Bellman, elected in 1962. McCarty, a skilled politician, emerged as a highly visible and dominant figure, leading Democrats against the Republican governor.

  Unfortunately for McCarty, he lost his reelection bid from his district in 1966, and the IRS descended upon him with tax evasion charges. His critics unkindly claimed that he failed to report his many bribes.

 In any event, he was convicted and sent to jail. Thus, in a few short years, leading state judges and the powerful former speaker had proven to be corrupt.