Sunday, December 30, 2018

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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Senator Ralph Shortey Resigns Amid Charges of 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.

Friday, December 21, 2018

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.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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..

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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: 
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..

Thursday, December 6, 2018

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.