Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Senate Pro Tem, Finis Smith Goes To Prison For Fraud


 Senate President, Finis Smith, of West Tulsa, was caught with an unreported foreign bank account which he's not reported on his taxes. He and his wife both were sentenced to prison. They owned a Tag Agency. He was disbarred from his law practice.

  The Tulsa World said;
1985
  Former Oklahoma Senate  president pro-tem Finis Smith, along with his wife Doris,  were convicted by a federal court jury here on felony counts  of mail and tax fraud, conspiracy and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts. Finis and Doris Smith, each got six years, and were sent to a federal prison in Texas.
The Daily Oklahoman put it this way..
A federal jury Thursday afternoon found former state Sen. Finis Smith and his wife, former Tulsa County automobile tag agent Doris Smith, guilty of 18 counts each of mail fraud, tax fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy.
The jury deliberated slightly less than eight hours, announcing at 12:35 p.m. that it had reached a verdict. The Smiths gazed stoically ahead as Presiding U.S. District Judge H. Dale Cook's clerk read the verdict on each count. As the verdict was announced, defense attorney Carl Hughes lowered his head to his arms on the table in front of him.
Read More, here.. 

Wednesday, March 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.

Thursday, March 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.

Friday, March 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.

Wednesday, February 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.

Friday, February 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..

Sunday, February 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. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

1960s Voting Corruption In Oklahoma


by Paul R. Hollrah, reprinted from The New Media Journal - 
  In August 1963 I was transferred to Tulsa from Wall Street, in New York, in a corporate headquarters relocation. A month later, on Tuesday evening, September 10, 1963, I attended my first political meeting… the monthly meeting of the Tulsa County Young Republicans. 
  The guest speaker that evening was Tulsa attorney Walter Hall, Ballot Security Officer for the Oklahoma Republican State Committee. In his speech Hall described in detail the widespread fraud practiced by Oklahoma Democrats in every election. And since Democrats controlled all county and state election boards, the governor’s office, both houses of the legislature, the major law enforcement offices, and the courts, few Republicans were willing to challenge them. 
Walter Hall
 
Hall began by explaining that forty-four of Oklahoma’s seventy-seven counties had not provided a secret ballot for voters since statehood in 1907, and that local Democrats regularly used every conceivable illegal device to intimidate voters and to fraudulently control the outcome of elections.
  Although state law required that one of the three election officials in each precinct must be a member of the minority party, Democrats systematically recruited loyal party members to register as Republicans so that they could fill the minority positions.
  He described how, on election day, after voters had signed the entry log, they were handed a paper ballot and a pencil. And since there were no facilities for marking a ballot in secret, they were obliged to place their ballots on the table and mark them with the three election officials looking on. If the election officials saw a voter mark his/her ballot for even a single Republican candidate, a number of things could happen… none of them good.

Read more, here..

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Liquor And Corruption



  Unless you're a 3rd generation Oklahoman, you probably don't know that prohibition didn't end in the mid 30s, in Oklahoma.

  The demise of Prohibition deserves more than passing mention. Oklahoma was one of the last states to allow strong drink. By the time of repeal in 1959, open saloons serving whatever customers wanted flourished in urban centers, and bootleggers provided fast arid efficient home service for those in dire need.

  No more prohibition.

 A make believe liquor casket containing 'Old Man Prohibition' is hauled jubilantly through the streets with a police escort here, April 7th. The occasion was an election victory that ended 51 years of prohibition in the state.
 The widespread flouting of the law in itself became one of the strong arguments in favor of repeal.
   By this time the state had voted on the liquor issue six times. Finally, on the seventh time, repeal carried the day and thereby reduced a significant source of corruption.
Governor Edmondson won on Prohibition.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Alfalfa Bill Murray & His 34 Declarations Of Martial Law

Books can be written about Alfalfa Bill Murray. But with his populism there was also a bravado which got him into trouble.

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

  After the two failed governorships of Walton & Johnson, the next governor, elected in 1930 at the onset of the Great Depression, was William H. Murray, better known as "Alfalfa Bill." A couple decades earlier, Murray had chaired Oklahoma's constitutional convention, leading to statehood. He acquired a national reputation of sorts partly because of his oddball behavior. Like Jack Walton he was a great showman. He presented himself as one with the common farmers in language and in dress. He dressed in rumpled clothing, including the trademark long johns that extended conspicuously below his pant legs. His language could be crude, even obscene. That he was mostly an opportunist interested in electoral gain is suggested by his background. He had worked as a teacher and reporter, had read law, and had gained recognition as expert in tribal land claims. The woman he married was related to a tribal chief. These are high-status traits, not those of an unlettered, rumpled farmer.

  In office he did champion ordinary farmers and others in distress. Nevertheless, his own state programs did not get far, partly because of the Great Depression and partly because of his irascible personality. He clashed with Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, feeling that FDR had ridiculed him. Federal officials bypassed Murray and thus cut him out of much patronage. Murray became enraged and consumed by vindictiveness in his opposition to FDR and the New Deal, an attitude that stayed with him after he left office. To the end of his days he railed against the New Deal, communists, and "International Jewry." Worst of all was his willingness to invoke martial law, which he did a total of thirty-four times.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Oklahoma's Psychic Governor, Henry Johnson

  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.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Jack Walton's Brief Governorship & Impeachment

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.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Guthrie & OKC Play 'Capture the Flag'

  The story was that Oklahoma's first post-territorial governor stole the state seal in the dead of night, drove from Guthrie to Oklahoma City, stashed the seal under his hotel bed and collapsed from exhaustion.
  The temporary Capitol was in Guthrie, OK. But the plan for a permanent Capitol Building brought with it a fight between the republicans in the West, and the Democrats in the East. they originally sought to create 2 states (Oklahoma & Sequoyah), but Roosevelt didn't want another Democrat state(Sequoyah), so he supported a 1-state solution and hoped the Western republicans would prevail.

The New Jerusalem 

   William H. "Alfalfa Bill" Murray proposed buying a township for the capital. He proposed selling lots around the capitol building and said the chosen place should have "good drainage and a picturesque grandeur. " This and similar plans became known as the "new Jerusalem" approach to the capital - creating an entirely new city on the prairie with construction of the Capitol funded by the platting and selling of lots.


  On Nov. 3, 1908, an election was held on a state question calling for the acquisition of a capital site and the selling of lots to finance construction of the Capitol. Although more voters than not approved the measure, it did not pass by the necessary majority.

  Oklahoma City sent out trainloads of boosters to canvass the state on June 5. The following Saturday, 160,000 voters - all of them male - went to the polls. Oklahoma City won handily. Guthrie was second and Shawnee a distant third.

Capture The Flag

  Legends surround the removal of the seal in 1910, and the truth - not nearly as colorful - has been washed by the passage of time.  So nobody really knows exactly how Oklahoma City became the state capital a bit earlier, shall we say, than expected.  Dirty laundry is how one source says it happened. Dirty tricks is how Guthrie partisans saw it.

Stolen Seal Finds Home

  The trip north had actually taken longer because of a flat tire at Seward. Back in Oklahoma City by 7 a.m., Anthony met Gov. Haskell, who arrived that Sunday morning by train from his home in Muskogee.

Monday, January 7, 2019

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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

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;