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Friday, June 30, 2006 

First Annual Skunk Awards

Legislator cites 21% pay raises for elected officials Most people are happy when they receive a raise from their employer, Paul Wesselhoft, R-Oklahoma City, is outraged. The recently concluded budget agreement calls for giving judges and statewide elected officials a 21% raise in pay. The raise has prompted Wesselhoft to unveil his first annual Skunk-Master Award. The award is given for legislation which best "exhibits the pugnacious, stagnant smell of governmental greed." Wesselhoft said in a statement: "In light of the Legislature's unwillingness to give state employees any more than a 5-percent pay increase, of which the legislature will only fund half, and its unwillingness to raise the minimum wage by a buck, my colleagues in the House nevertheless passed a bill that will fully fund a bloated pay increase for judges and elected officials." The salary for Governor Henry and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would increase to more than $140,000, up from $117,000, according to Wesselhoft's release. Posted at 6/30/2006 12:22:00 PM |

Ad Watch: Who Is Behind The Calvey Ads?

It is clear that the ads currently running for Kevin Calvey are not being paid for by his campaign. The question is who is paying for them? The ad’s disclaimer reads “Paid for by Club for Growth State Action” leading one to assume that it is the national Club for Growth organization behind the commercials. However, Club for Growth’s David Keating said the state action club is part of an "umbrella group" for a handful of state affiliates of the Club for Growth. However, Oklahoma is "not listed among the few states that have affiliates." Keating explained that Club for Growth State Action was "lobbying-type organization" with its own board of directors, office and a different tax status than CFG (Casteel, Daily Oklahoman, 6/24). The Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to investigate. Posted at 6/30/2006 11:37:00 AM |
Thursday, June 29, 2006 

Great Plains Bankruptcy Costs Illinois Taxpayers

Illinois County fails to file proper paperwork for bankruptcy auction After last weeks bankruptcy fire sale of Great Plains Airlines' spare parts, revelations are coming forward that Great Plains' incompetence was not only a localized affair. The St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that the repercussions have spread to St. Claire County, Illinois, home of MidAmerica Airport. The county pulled out all the stops to get airline service at an all-but-empty airport, including guaranteeing $750,000 in loans to Great Plains. Its only collateral - the recently auctioned spare parts. According to the bankruptcy trustee, the county, "failed to file the proper paperwork" which will entitle the county to absolutely nothing. How many more Mid America Airport scenarios are there out there connected to the Great Plains debacle? Oklahoma Political News Service is investigating... Posted at 6/29/2006 01:04:00 PM |

Fallin and Immigration: Guest Workers?

Immigration activists question Fallin position Always first with the inside political gossip, the Oklahoma Political News Service, has heard learned that immigration activists are unhappy with Mary Fallin’s position on illegal immigration. On her website, Fallin, a candidate for the CD 5 nomination, states in her position on illegal immigration that, “We must insist on assimilation. America has always welcomed immigrants. It is a cornerstone of our democracy. But people who wish to be part of our great nation must take on the responsibility of citizenship. They should learn our language, abide by our laws and strive to contribute to our society.” Illegal immigration activist have been critical, say in that this amounts to a guest worker program. The Oklahoma Political News Service is investigating... Posted at 6/29/2006 01:00:00 PM |

Veterans Come Out Against Sullivan Ad

Ask Sullivan why he publicly opposes them? Bob Sullivan continues to take heat for airing what is being called a misleading attack on Congressman Ernest Istook’s record. The letter from veteran’s advocates, Alvin F. Speck and Thomas E. Cook, express concern with Sullivan’s “position against Veterans Appropriations bill HR 2620, Roll Call #434 in 2001. You’re spending quite a bit of money on television decrying this legislation.” The letter goes on to say, “As veterans, we’re very concerned what your position means for us in your campaign for Governor of Oklahoma. We have risked our lives and health for America and because of that nobody in the Oklahoma delegation opposed this important legislation.” “Given these facts please stop using the support of veterans as a reason to attack your political opponents and immediately apologize for your actions. It is shameful and unbecoming of someone who wants to govern the state to use the support of veterans of this country in the manor that you have chosen.” The Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to follow the story. Posted at 6/29/2006 12:09:00 PM |

Ad Watch: LG Race

Askins first on TV In what is sure to be a heated race for a job with the least amount of official responsibility, Democrat Jari Askins became the first candidate, in either primary to go on the air. Her ad which is a bio spot, highlights Askin’s judicial background “tough on crime” and highlights her groundbreaking status as the “first women elected to lead House Democrats.” The ad is void of any controversial claims, but the mud is sure to fly as this race heats up. Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to keep an eye on this race Posted at 6/29/2006 11:45:00 AM |

Minumum Wage Petition Drive Fails

Raise Oklahoma announced that it is ending its minimum wage petition drive because of a failure to achieve enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot. Acccording to state law, the group needed at least 117,101 signatures within 90 days of beginning the petition drive. Like most Marxists ideas that refuse to die, spokesman Linda Murphy vows to try again. It is apparent by Raise Oklahoma's failure, that most Oklahomans understand that government -mandating raising the minimum wage - hurts small businesses and the entry level jobs they provide to teenagers and low skilled workers. The Oklahoma Political Affairs Council has a comprehensive article on the truth behind the minimum wage debate. For example: "The conventional wisdom is that endless throngs of single parents are struggling to make ends meet while working a job that offers only minimum wages and no opportunity for advancement. But here are some facts from the BLS about minimum wage earners in the United States (the BLS did not have data specifically on Oklahoma, but there is no reason to believe Oklahoma would deviate significantly from the national picture.)
  • 5.3% of all minimum-wage earners live in households in poverty.
  • 40% of minimum-wage earners live in households with incomes of $60,000 and higher.
  • 15% of minimum-wage earners remain at the minimum wage for three years.
  • 82% of minimum-wage earners do not have dependents.
Posted at 6/29/2006 11:36:00 AM |
Wednesday, June 28, 2006 

OK Democratic Grassroots Express Dissatisfaction

Despite corruption scandals in Washington and President Bush's low approval ratings, Oklahoma grassroots activists are expressing on their concern with their party's lack of "direction" and "strategy". Forum members wrote: "There is a sense of frustration by those of us in the grass roots that those in the policy levels of the Democratic policy are so confused about which direction to go and what strategy to pursue, that we could just spit." "See all the checks and balances disappearing as the Republicans control all three branches of our government, I'm just burned out. I feel helpless." "I feel the same way often" "I feel frustrated because of people like Tim Rees and Scott Meachum. They sell out working Oklahomans because they have their egos that says they are better than the rest of us." Posted at 6/28/2006 12:39:00 PM |

Istook Calls Sullivan Ad "Doubly Dishonest"

Congressman Istook's campaign responded yesterday in a press release (below) to Republican governor candidate Bob Sullivan's new television ad criticizing Istook's Congressional votes and fiscal conservatism. Congressman Istook called Sullivan ads "deliberately misleading" and "doubly dishonest." "Bob Sullivan has gone beyond breaking his written pledge to a clean campaign. That was the first dishonesty. Second, and what’s worse is that he's telling falsehoods. That makes him doubly dishonest." His statements and his TV ads deliberately mislead people about votes in Congress. He distorts a vote on funding veterans’ benefits, by claiming it was a pork barrel vote. That's dishonest. He even claims that a vote on funding the military was actually a pork-barrel vote. Again, that's dishonest. He is willing to say or do anything, however false, just to try to win an election." Anyone who checks the Congressional Record will see that the votes he criticizes were final votes on major bills to take care of our veterans, our national defense and so forth. These were not separate votes on any pork-barrel project. I don’t like it when bits of pork are slipped into those bills, but that didn't justify voting against our veterans or our military. Like Senators Inhofe and Nickles, and all of Oklahoma's Congressmen, I voted for bills that were imperfect but were still important. None of the Oklahoma delegation voted any different than I did on these bills." “I wasn’t going to cut off benefits to disabled veterans, their widows or their children, nor close the VA hospitals and VA centers. Would Mr. Sullivan have voted against these bills? Then he would have voted against veterans. He’s taking cheap shots at a $25-billion package for our veterans just because there was a $1-million problem. When it comes to up-or-down votes like these, you cannot change it, and you can’t vote for some parts of the bill and against other parts.” My record on spending is solidly conservative, including awards every year from responsible groups like the National Taxpayer's Union and Citizens Against Government Waste. I'm the principal author of the Balanced Budget Amendment, which is the solution we need to these spending problems. I'm committed to fiscal responsibility, and I'll continue that commitment as Governor." Cick here for Internet links to the votes singled out by Sullivan and links to the full text of the bills featured in Sullivan’s ads and press releases. Posted at 6/28/2006 08:59:00 AM |

Ad-War Shock: Ben Harris Behind Sullivan Istook Blast

If Oklahoma politics had a black market in weapons of mass destruction, says one congressional campaign manager who asked we not use his name, Ben Harris would be high up on the FBI’s most wanted list. In 2002, when Steve Largent ran for Governor, then-Independent Gary Williamson stopped the Republican dead in his tracks with an ad the public found so vile, most viewers switched their channels. The 30-second television spot showed the World Trade Center towers shortly before their collapse and reminded viewers that Congressman Steve Largent was hunting in Idaho while Congress was voting on resolutions addressing the terrorist attacks. At the time, Largent had been unreachable due to communications problems and was unaware of either the attacks or the votes. Visibly shaken upon returning to peppering by the media, Largent swore at repeated questioning on the subject. All of the above made it into the Ben Harris ad. Gary Williamson siphoned off enough of the vote that 43% was sufficient to put Brad Henry in the governor’s mansion. Four years later, Bob Sullivan has hired Ben “the hit man” Harris for his campaign’s ads. Not to tell the truth. Not even to tell the full story. His first attack ad on uber-conservative Congresman Ernest Istook used masks, doctored photographs, a paid actor, sounds of pigs squealing, even a bobble-head doll of the Congressman. All it lacked was a shred of truth. But that has never been Ben Harris’ style. Unfortunately, for Oklahoma voters, it may only be the beginning, as it clearly wasn’t the knock-out blow the 9-11 ad was for Largent. Harris has a checkered past. He quit a state job in Florida after ethical concerns were raised. An investigation centered on allegations Ben Harris gave contracts to vendors with whom he had a personal relationship. Jerry Regier, then head of Florida's child-protection agency, hired Harris. Regier in July 2004 suspended Harris and a co-worker, Glenn Palmiere, for their actions. Harris and Palmiere resigned a couple weeks later and Regier, who served from 2000 to 2002 as temporary head of the Oklahoma Health Department, resigned later that summer. The three have said they reimbursed vendors for everything they received. The St. Petersburg, Fla., Times reported a state report showed Harris received a karaoke machine from an individual involved with a company that received 298 contracts totaling more than $4 million from the state agency, accepted a "spa massage" that a computer company paid for, and circumvented state purchasing requirements in hiring a consultant. Harris and Palmiere in June 2004 traveled to Sydney, Australia, at the expense of a software company that won a $500,000 contract with the Florida agency the previous year, the newspaper reported. Posted at 6/28/2006 08:45:00 AM |

Update: Istook and Illegal Immigration

The boys respond In the ongoing saga that is Bob Sullivan’s attack on Congressman Ernest Istook’s record on immigration, the two immigrants helped by Congressman Istook have entered the fray. The Oklahoma Political News Service has obtained a copy of the boy’s statement on the Sullivan press release. In the statement, the pair say that Istook’s bill “helped save their lives” after their “father was arrested and murdered by Islamic radicals for participating in an anti-revolutionary protest in 1981.” The pair then goes on to condemn Sullivan, stating “It is disheartening that Mr. Sullivan chose to turn a truly altruistic act by Rep. Istook into a political attack. It occurs to us that Mr. Sullivan’s lack of research into the matter before making such comments is indicative of his political inexperience.” The Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to follow the story. Posted at 6/28/2006 08:30:00 AM |

Candidate Profile: Pete Regan

Periodically throughout the campaign season, Oklahoma Political News Service will profile major candidates for state and federal offices. Our first profile is Democrat and Lt. Governor candidate Pete Regan. The 36 year old Tulsa native is one of ten siblings who was one of the first members of his family to graduate college. While finishing his degree in the evenings, Regan worked full time as a school administrator with former governor George Nigh, while Nigh was University of Central Oklahoma President. Former Gov. George Nigh and his wife, Donna, are co-chairs of Regan's campaign. Regan continued his education by earning his Bachelor's Degree in Economics and his Master's Degree of Public Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma, graduating with honors. He earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma while also working full time. Regan says as Lt. Governor, he wants to be an "ambassador for the state." "I believe the lieutenant governor should be a voice for the underserved and for small business. We just want our families to have jobs, continue to live in their communities, stop the brain drain to the east and west coast and to quit losing our teachers to Texas." Regan is running on a platform of ethics reform. His proposals include making it illegal to solicit or accept political contributions 30 days before or after legislative session, as well as during the session. Regan is also calling for closing an existing loophole that allows term limited legislators to raise money for offices they are legally prohibited from seeking. "The legislative session should be for doing the people's business -- not for political campaigning and certainly not for fundraising." Pete Regan and his wife, Amy, live near Afton. Posted at 6/28/2006 08:22:00 AM |
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 

Tronox Reiterates Committment To Oklahoma City

The Journal Record (excerpt) We noted yesterday Mick Cornett's role in keeping chemical maker Tronox from relocating their world headquarters. After the sale of Kerr McGee to Anadarko last week, Tronox officials are assuring Oklahomans that it is keeping its 3oo workers in Oklahoma City. OKLAHOMA CITY – Tronox Inc. – formerly the chemicals division of Kerr-McGee – continues to consider its options regarding a move out of the Kerr-McGee Tower, company spokeswoman Debbie Schramm said Monday. Tronox, which Schramm said will likely remain in Oklahoma City, was spun off on March 30 and became an independent company the following day. “We are leasing from Kerr-McGee, and in the downtown office we have approximately 200 workers,” Schramm said. “We have 100 employees at the Tech Center at NW 150th and Portland, which Tronox owns.” “The state Legislature (through SB 1577) gave incentives for us to keep our headquarters here,” Schramm said. Chairman and CEO Tom Adams is expected to advise the Tronox board of intentions to stay in the city. Posted at 6/27/2006 10:48:00 AM |

Children And Teens Well Being Worsens Under Henry

OK Ranked 40th among the 50 states The annual Kids Count Report released today will show that Oklahoma's ranking of well being of children and teenagers has worsened from last year. Oklahoma ranked thirty-eighth last year, slipping two points. Also worsening under the Henry administration was Oklahoma in six categories including child death rates, teen death rates and low birthweight babies. According to the report, there was an increase in the percentage of children living in single and unemployed, female headed households. Posted at 6/27/2006 07:30:00 AM |

Henry Gives Own Party "F" For Tardiness

Governor Henry blamed his own party for the delayed budget yesterday saying they deserved an "F" for tardiness. He didn't explicitly blame his party, but it was in effect what he was doing, since Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan and the Democrats in the Senate were stalling action on the bill, even at one point threatening to "Stay as long as it takes." In the AP interview, Henry said he was "extremely disappointed that it took so long to reach an agreement when the basic framework was in place weeks ago." From the AP: Henry, a Democrat, floated a compromise budget plan on May 15th. Republican House Speaker Todd Hiett accepted the Henry compromise, but Senate Democrats rejected it. What followed was a month of negotiations, mainly through surrogates for Hiett and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan, as the adjournment deadline for the regular session expired on May 26th. A firm budget agreement was not announced until exactly a month after Henry disclosed his compromise budget proposal. House and Senate members reconvened in the middle of last week in a special session and finished approving a record 7-point-1 (b) billion dollar spending plan on Friday. Posted at 6/27/2006 07:27:00 AM |
Monday, June 26, 2006 

Email to GOP Leaders Asks Bob Sullivan to Pull Negative Attack Ad

Declares Sullivan broke 11th commandment pledge The controversy over Bob Sullivan's attack ad continues to grow, as county GOP Chairmen call for Sullivan to take down the ad. Republican leaders and grassroots activists Angie LaPlante, Debra Henley, Nathan Bouvia, and James Cruson, sent an email sent around the state calling for Sullivan to take down an ad which attacks Congressman Istook’s record as a fiscal conservative. The Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to report on the emerging controversy. Below is a complete transcript of the email: June 22, 2006 Mr. Bob Sullivan 1601 S. Main, Ste. 102 Tulsa, OK 74119 Dear Mr. Sullivan, As Republican Party Chairmen we’re very concerned by the tone and tenor of your campaign. Your ad is a gross violation of the 11th commandment pledge you recently signed to be fair and honest. It distorts the actual record of Ernest Istook. The thrust of your attack against Congressman Istook does not square with Congressman Istook’s actual record. For example: * He’s the principle author of the balanced budget amendment * Congressman Istook was the only Chairman of an Appropriations Subcommittee who spent less than inflation over the entire time he was a Chairman. He lost his chairmanship for opposing pork barrel spending. * That’s why no less an authority than Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform said, “Ernest Istook is one of the few members of Congress – Republican or Democrat – who has stayed faithful not just to the fight for lower taxes, but also to the conservative doctrine of spending discipline. “Even when it meant standing up to the leaders of his own party, Ernest Istook has worked hard to rein in spending. “Unfortunately, his has too often been a rare voice in the Washington wilderness of political and economic excess. “Ernest Istook’s courageous stand in the face of overwhelming political pressure proves he is exactly the kind of principled, honest, and responsible governor Oklahoma needs to strengthen the economy and create better, higher paying jobs for working families.” As we all know Congressman Istook has been recognized by a variety of organizations including Citizens Against Government Waste, Chamber of Commerce, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, National Associated Businessmen, National Federation of Independent Businessmen and others have honored him for his fiscal discipline and his record of reducing taxes and fighting government waste. We find it odd that 2 years ago, before you were a candidate for Governor against Ernest Istook, you supported him and made a financial contribution to his campaign. We can only assume that your present candidacy is what motivates your current attacks on Congressman Istook. Because his record is consistent with what it was 2 years ago when you donated to his campaign. As Republican County Chairmen we’re concerned your distortions of Congressman Istook’s record threatens our opportunity to win the Governor’s race in November. We urge you to cease and desist from your unfair and untruthful full attacks on Ernest Istook. We call on you to stop this negative advertisement immediately. Angie LaPlante Chairman Republican Party of Oklahoma County Debra Henley Chairman Republican Party of Creek County Nathan Bouvia Chairman Republican Party of Comanche County James Cruson Chairman Republican Party of Murray County Please click here to add your name to the letter above. Posted at 6/26/2006 12:15:00 PM |

Istook and Illegal Immigration: UPDATE

Fmr. Senator Boren worked on behalf of the boys As previously reported by the Oklahoma Political News Service, Congressman Ernest Istook, Republican candidate for Governor, has been accused of grandstanding on the issue of illegal immigration by Bob Sullivan, his opponent in the GOP primary. Specifically, Sullivan cites H.R. 848,1999, a bill sponsored by Congressman Istook that granted citizenship to two boys from Iran. An examination of the bill and Judiciary Committee Report indicate that Sullivan’s attacks are disingenuous at best. From the report: “The boys' father was executed in Iran in 1984. The mother and her young sons hid in Iran for a year before coming to the U.S. and applying for political asylum. The boys were 7 and 8 years old when they came to the U.S. After 12 years, the application for asylum was denied in April 1997. In the meantime, these young boys grew up in Oklahoma, graduated from high school, were students at the University of Oklahoma, and now are both working. They have lost both parents, neither boy has any connection to Iran, and they have very little knowledge of the Muslim faith, Iranian culture, or the Farsi language. The boys currently live with their aunt and uncle--their mother's siblings--in Oklahoma.” Moreover, Sullivan seems to be treading in murky water given that the bill enjoyed strong support in Oklahoma. Former Senator and current president of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, even wrote a letter on behalf of the two boys. In the letter, Boren called the bill, “an opportunity to positively impact the future of these boys and their education.” Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to investigate. Posted at 6/26/2006 11:51:00 AM |

Hiett Campaign Stumbles After Final Session

"Overzealous campaign worker" distributes campaign signs in capitol parking lot With less than month left until the July 25th primary, Speaker Hiett's campaign is not wasting any time promoting their candidate, even if it means violating state ethics laws. The AP is reporting that dozens of yard signs promoting House Speaker Todd Hiett's campaign for lieutenant governor were distributed in a state Capitol parking lot Friday. From the AP: "Hiett, said he did not know the signs were distributed to some House member's cars and trucks in the Capitol's east parking lot and ordered them removed as soon as he learned about it. Hiett attributed their distribution to an "overzealous campaign worker." "Their intentions were good. They just didn't use good judgment," Hiett said. "That is clearly inappropriate." Hiett did not identify the campaign worker and said no action is planned. Hiett said he has not used his office for campaign purposes but has been focused on state budget issues. Hiett was presiding over the House during its special budget-writing session when he learned of the yard sign issue. Ethics Commission rules prohibit the distribution of political campaign material "on sidewalks, common grounds or parking lots and within public buildings" used to conduct state government business. The signs were placed against the sides of several parked cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles driven by Republican House members and staffers who had requested them. Others were placed in the beds of lawmakers' pickup trucks. One House member, Rep. Odilia Dank, R-Oklahoma City, said she had not considered the ethical implications of distributing the campaign signs on state property. "Somebody told me they might put them there," Dank said. "I will see that they get removed." Another, Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman, said he agreed to take several of the signs a few weeks ago. A bundle of blue plastic signs, bearing the words "Hiett Lieutenant Governor" in white letters, were left leaning against his pickup truck. Hiett said he was not consulted before the signs were distributed. "I knew better," he said. "It's clearly inappropriate and it shouldn't have happened." The House's Democratic leader designate, Rep. Danny Morgan, D-Prague, said he was concerned about the use of state property for Hiett's campaign activity. He said ethics guidelines prohibit campaign activity in "our offices, our desks and I'm assuming our parking lots." Sen. Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, who is also running for lieutenant governor, said distribution of the signs at the state Capitol "could be a problem." Hiett faces Pruitt and Sen. Nancy Riley, R-Tulsa, in the July 25 Republican primary for lieutenant governor." Posted at 6/26/2006 08:20:00 AM |

Club For Growth Founder Skeptical Of Budget Deal

Stephen Moore, founder and former president of Club for Growth, opines that the recently completed budget agreement is a mixed bag at best. Moore applauds the tax relief for Oklahoma taxpayers, but worries about the increased spending that is slated to accompany those tax cuts. Sooner Tax Cuts Can't Come Soon Enough Oklahomans will get a tax cut this year after all. Late last week Democratic Governor Brad Henry agreed to terms with Republicans in the legislature on a compromise that features $600 million in tax cuts over the next four years. These include a roughly 20% reduction in the income tax rate over four years and a three-year phase-out of the state death tax. That's a hefty and highly pro-growth tax cut for a state that has been a perennial economic laggard. Oklahoma remains overly reliant on oil and gas, which has led to periodic booms and longer busts. But today's $70 oil prices have made budget trade-offs suddenly seem like child's play. Thus, for going along with the tax cut, Mr. Henry will get a whopping $3,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers -- twice what he had been seeking for this traditionally Democratic voting bloc. No wonder the free-market folks at the Oklahoma Public Affairs Council say they're "not jumping up and down with joy" over the tax-cut deal. Increased spending is still slated to soak up 75% of the bumper revenues created by the oil boom. But the state's Democratic governor is smiling -- Mr. Henry calls the budget deal "a very nice balance between historical tax relief for all Oklahomans and in particular working Oklahomans as well as record investment in education, in research infrastructure, in health care, job creation, public safety and roads and bridges." Not all Democrats are thrilled. Even with 75 cents out of every dollar going to higher spending rather than tax cuts, Senate President Mike Morgan worries that Oklahoma has gone "tax-cut crazy." Unfortunately, the state is a long way from that, but Sooner State taxpayers have at least some reason to applaud a rare victory this year. Given the need to boost the lagging non-oil sectors of the economy, even higher spending may be a price worth paying for the stimulative tax cuts. Posted at 6/26/2006 07:17:00 AM |
Friday, June 23, 2006 

Line Item Veto Passes U.S. House

The U. S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4890 ("Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006") last evening by a vote of 247-172. All five members of the Oklahoma delegation voted in favor of the bill. Congressman Ernest Istook released this statement after the vote: "I don't call this a line-item veto. This bill is better than nothing, but let's not overplay what it is. Until we have a Balanced Budget Amendment--which I'm continuing to push--Congress won't get serious about controlling spending and won't stop wasting money. All the other budget process reform and earmark reform ideas are minor and technical compared to what a constitutional balanced budget requirement would accomplish." The AP has a link on how the Line Item Veto would work. Posted at 6/23/2006 10:43:00 AM |


Republican governor candidate Bob Sullivan couldn't even wait for the ink to dry on his pledge not to break Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment -"Thou shou not speak ill of another Republican" - before releasing a television ad questioning Congressman Istook's record on fiscal issues. As noted above, Istook voted in favor of the line item veto last night. We broke this story yesterday before anyone in the media. Sullivan is handing out pink pig piniatas to highlight the ad's dubious claims of Istook being a "big spending liberal". Sullivan must have read the same article we link to in the next post that details the popularity of conservatism among Oklahoma's voters. While Sullivan maintains that he did not break the pledge, his new ad appears to do exactly the type of negative campaigning that State GOP Tom Daxon hoped to avoid in the Republican Primary. In the letter that accompanied the pledge, Daxon outlined what would be acceptable and unacceptable conduct for those who sign the pledge. Specifically, Daxon says that “It would not be acceptable to say my opponent is a big spender who likes to waste money on worthless programs." Sullivan’s ad, which refers to Congressman Istook as a “liberal big spender,” is nearly word for word of what Daxon deemed unacceptable content. Daxon has yet to denounce Sullivan’s ad. Posted at 6/23/2006 10:40:00 AM |

Oklahoma Voters Favor Conservative Policies

The Muskogee Phoenix has a commentary written by Grant Gulibon of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs citing the results of a 2005/2006 preference poll. According to Gulibon, "The results were solidly (and in many cases, overwhelmingly) in favor of tried, tested, and successful conservative public policies". The respondents were asked their opinions on a variety of issues such as the size of state government, repealing the estate tax, faith-based initiatives, school funding and school choice. Posted at 6/23/2006 10:22:00 AM |
Thursday, June 22, 2006 

Gov. Candidate Goes Negative

Sullivan attacks Istook

Just one week into the paid TV and radio phase of the Republican primary race for governor, the first negative ads have hit the airwaves. Bob Sullivan, a Tulsa oilman and candidate for the GOP nomination, announced that he will go up on TV today with an ad attacking Congressman Ernest Istook’s record as a fiscal conservative.

Sullivan, who was interviewed this morning on 740 KRMG, believed that the ad was not in violation of the “11th Commandment” pledge he signed promising not to attack fellow Republicans.

He went on to say that Istook “has developed a spending habit that we just don’t need in the governor’s office.” Referring to his charges of Istook’s overspending Sullivan promised that“[his campaign] will be providing a list, for anyone that wants to look at it.”

Chip Englander, Congressman Istook’s campaign manager denounced the attack ad, saying that, “Sullivan’s attack ad may have reached a new low in the realm of political desperation. The manner in which Sullivan attacks Congressman Istook is insulting, juvenile and, most wretchedly dishonest.”

“Bob Sullivan will say, or do anything to win this election, “Englander said, “If there was a shred of truth to this why did Bob Sullivan donate to Congressman Istook’s re-election campaign less than 2 years ago?”

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, a candidate to fill Istook’s Fifth District Congressional seat, jumped into the fray as well, issuing a press release where he called Istook “a national leader among conservatives.” Cornett, who remains the only CD-5 candidate to endorse Congressman Istook, went on to say, “Congressman Ernest Istook has built a solid record working to fight the war on terror, reduce spending, improve education, combat illegal immigration and represent Oklahoma with amazing dedication in Congress.”

The Oklahoma Political News Service will examine the ad in detail

Posted at 6/22/2006 05:48:00 PM |

Missing the Mark

Blogosphere thinks Calvey endorsement a poor choice The Republican Sentinel is also questioning The Club For Growth's endorsement of Kevin Calvey in the 5th district. We reported last week in our "Ad Watch" series that Club For Growth was sponsoring television ads for Calvey. The Sentinel notes the Club's recent string of winning endorsements, but doubt - after Calvey's poor showing in a recent KFOR poll(4%) - that he can win the Republican nomination. Leading the poll were Mary Fallin and Mick Cornett at 43% and 36% respectively. Posted at 6/22/2006 09:06:00 AM |

Great Turkey Airlines

Great Plains Airlines' parts are auctioned off by a bankruptcy judge. (AP) (excerpt) Another chapter in the demise of Great Plains Airlines was written Wednesday when the spare parts left behind by the now-defunct carrier were auctioned to a German airline for more than a quarter of a million dollars. Private Wings Flugcharter, a Berlin-based airline that offers business charter and freight services, submitted the winning bid of $285,000 at an auction conducted by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Terrence Michael. Great Plains filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in January 2004. It converted its bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 liquidation in 2005 after executives said efforts to find financing and investors had been unsuccessful. The airline was launched with a private sector-government partnership in April 2001 with about $57 million in tax credits and government-backed loans. The business plan called for the airline to fly regional jet aircraft directly from Oklahoma City and Tulsa to the East and West coasts, bypassing hub airports. But five months after Great Plains' first flight, the airline industry went into a tailspin as the result of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Creditors repossessed five 32-passenger Fairchild Dornier 328 aircraft belonging to Great Plains after it abandoned commercial service in January 2004. The airline stopped flying charter flights in February 2004. Posted at 6/22/2006 08:53:00 AM |

House Passes Historic Tax Cut

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) (excerpt) The Oklahoma House passed the largest tax cut in state history today as lawmakers reconvened a special session to finish work on the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. The tax cut package passed the same day the Senate approved a bill that includes a 3-thousand dollar across-the-board pay raise for public school teachers. The raises will bring Oklahoma teacher salaries close to the regional average. The raise is more than twice as large as Henry originally proposed. Posted at 6/22/2006 08:49:00 AM |
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 

AD Watch: Denise Bode Puts Her Record, and the Truth, On the Line

Oklahoma Political News Service has already brought you in-depth coverage of the Club for Growth advertising on behalf of State Representative Kevin Calvey and exposed its misstatements and half-truths. We also covered the Mick Cornett radio ad days before it was attacked by other candidates and covered by traditional media sources. They are now regularly following our lead on political new stories. Continuing in this important series, we turn our attention to the third ad run by State Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode, who was criticized by her opponents for arguably stretching the truth in her 2002 primary campaign for Attorney General against Tim Green, and Drew Edmondson in the general. Our analysis of the ad does uncover one untruth and one exaggeration:. UNTRUTH… • ANNCR: Denise Bode wrote parts of the historic Reagan tax cut plan… According to a 1985 *Time Magazine article, Denise Bode was the lead Democratic staffer in the U.S. Senate working to thwart part of the Reagan tax cuts. Time credits Bode with Senate passage of the 1983 gas tax hike, which more than doubled the federal gas tax. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ *PULLING STRINGS ON CAPITOL HILL, THESE LOBBYISTS ARE TRYING TO UNRAVEL REAGAN'S TAX REFORM "Bode was still working in the Senate three years ago when she showed her mettle. Exhausted and eight months pregnant, she helped shepherd the 1982 gas tax bill through the Senate." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ EXAGGERATION… • ANNCR: [Denise Bode] …led the fight to kill Clinton’s BTU tax… The defeat of the Clinton tax increase, according to a case study published by American University, is credited to the work of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Aluminum Manufacturers. Mrs. Bode’s role - with Senator Boren’s support - on the Senate floor is unclear. If she truly played a role, it is an exaggeration to claim she lead the fight. Posted at 6/21/2006 01:27:00 PM |

Not So Fast....

Republican lawmakers expressing budget concerns Yesterday, when we expressed healthy skepticism of the pending budget agreement, we were chastised by an anonymous commentator who suggested that there was "no story here" and that it was a "done deal." Nothing is complete in politics until the signatures are written and the handshakes and photo ops are complete. OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) (excerpt) Several Republican lawmakers are expressing concerns that they'll be asked to pass a state budget the same day they get their first glimpse of it. The state House is set to reconvene tomorrow for a special session intended to pass a state budget. Lawmakers failed to pass a budget during the regular session that ended last month and Governor Henry called them back for a special session. If no budget is passed, state agencies will run out of money on June 30th and be forced to shut down. Legislative leaders plan to wrap up the budget work by the end of the week. An agreement was reached last week by Republican House Speaker Todd Hiett and Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan. However, several House members are considering proposing amendments to that agreement that could slow down the budget process. Posted at 6/21/2006 01:26:00 PM |

Where There's smoke There's Fire

Oklahoma Political News Service strives to stay objective and give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. State Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan is pushing our credo to its limits. Mr. McMahan is denying allegations from his republican opponent that he is forcing his staff to attend campaign events and even contribute to his campaign. "I would never ask them to contribute to my campaign, I believe that's illegal." McMahan claims he was unaware that 15 members of his staff - each wearing McMahan T-shirts - would show up at a candidate forum. Another coincidence is that a fundraising golf tournament, JUST so happens coincides with a monthly staff meeting at the Capitol. He admits some of his employees will be at the tournament, but of course they are taking a vacation day. It is truly amazing the loyalty this man gets from his staff! Kinda reminds you of a former Illinois Governor Posted at 6/21/2006 01:15:00 PM |

Istook: Tough on Illegal Immigration?

Primary opponent accuses Istook of sponsoring Illegal Immigrants Congressman and Republican candidate for Governor Ernest Istook, is being accused of grandstanding on the issue of illegal immigration. Bob Sullivan, Istook’s opponent in the Republican primary, questioned Istook’s position on illegal immigration. Sullivan pointed to a bill sponsored by Congressman Istook that granted permanent-resident status to two Iranian illegal aliens. Tulsa Today (excerpt) Sullivan pointed out that in the past, Ernest Istook has been more than accommodating to nations that support their residents flooding across our borders illegally, but now that he knows his anointing as the Republican gubernatorial candidate is in danger, he finally decides to act. “Let us not forget – Ernest Istook sponsored an egregious bill that became law (H.R. 848,1999), granting permanent-resident status to two Iranian illegal aliens, and Istook has been AWOL on illegal immigration, until he made the decision to run for Governor,” said Sullivan. “The people of Oklahoma know better and the Republican voters in Oklahoma should call Ernest and ask him where he has been hiding for the last fourteen years.” Posted at 6/21/2006 01:10:00 PM |

Sullivan takes to the Air

AD WARS Republican candidate for Governor Bob Sullivan recently when on the air with his first official campaign commercial. The ad, which is a positive bio spot, acknowledges Sullivan's stature as an unknown but comments that "[Sullivan] will work harder than anyone to win your vote" With election day less that 6 weeks away, and Sullivan polling around 10%, Sullivan may need more than effort to win the nomination. Posted at 6/21/2006 01:02:00 PM |
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 

Ad Watch: Calvey Talk

Oklahoma Political News Service Update: As the old saying goes, “Just because candidates call themselves fiscal conservatives or friends of taxpayers, doesn’t mean that they can be counted on to advance those issues.” In every campaign season, it seems as though accomplishments become inflated, and facts become a mere inconvenience. Last week the Oklahoma Political News Service brought you a transcript of a TV advertisement currently being aired for State Representative Kevin Calvey - candidate for 5th District Congress - from DC-based fundraising giant Club for Growth. This week, we will continue our “Ad Watch” series and investigate any dubious claims made in the ad. • "Calvey led the fight against corporate welfare bailouts and stood nearly alone against wasteful pork spending." More accurately, Calvey led the fight in favor of corporate welfare bailouts, before the bailouts went bad and he had to sound the retreat. While his website claims to have fought the entire $27 million, the facts tell a different story. In reality, Calvey voted for $18 million in corporate welfare funding for the now-defunct Great Plains Airlines, that quixotic little airline that was big on dreams but short on fuel capacity. A fact conveniently absent from the advertisements and his own campaign website touting him as a fiscal conservative leader. • "Kevin Calvey: a true conservative leader. Now that’s something special." The Club for Growth is widely known as one of the preeminent political fundraising organizations, but in terms of their pick of a “true conservative leader” in this race, our analysis shows they missed the mark. Posted at 6/20/2006 10:35:00 AM |

Ad Watch: Bode has a New Ad

Denise Bode goes on the air today with a new campaign ad. (watch video) Despite her offense at being called a “Career Politician,” Bode cites a lengthy political resume in the ad. Specifically, Bode claims to have “wrote parts of the historic Reagan tax cut plan” and “led the fight to kill Clinton’s BTU tax” and “even led the effort to sue state government to stop an automatic tax increase” Always suspicious of politicians and their claims, the Oklahoma Political News Service will investigate. Posted at 6/20/2006 10:31:00 AM |

Blame Game

Governor Henry has assured us again that when lawmakers return to the Capitol this week, a budget agreement will have finally been reached. As Oklahoma Political News Service pointed out last week, the agreement reached between Speaker Hiett and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan, is eerily similar to what was proposed during the session. It is estimated that it will take three days to pass the budget. The extra three days will cost taxpayers about $100,000. Of course, both sides blame the other for the impasse. The new speaker designate, Lance Cargill said, "Our hand was forced into a special session. And the taxpayers are going to pay for it." Morgan countered with, "We could have had a deal weeks ago if Republicans had just been willing then to do the right thing for Oklahoma." Morgan's comment is a little disingenuous, especially when you note that back in March, Democrats were hinting at a special session. Just last week, they said they were determined to stay "as long as it takes." Posted at 6/20/2006 10:19:00 AM |

New Chairman Pushes Reagan's 11th Commandment

All candidates but one sign "OKLAHOMA CITY(AP) (excerpt) Hoping to avoid giving Democrats ammunition for the general election, all candidates for the Republican primary for governor and all but one of the 5th Congressional District GOP hopefuls have signed a pledge not to say bad things about each other. The party's new chairman Tom Daxon, engineered the signing of pledges to adhere to what he calls former President Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment prohibiting Republicans from criticizing each other. Daxon's pledge urges GOP candidates to "refrain from attacking fellow Republican candidates in ways that their Democrat opponents could use in the general election campaign." The party chairman said he wants Republicans to stay focused on their goals and "not get swallowed up in name calling and petty matters." Posted at 6/20/2006 09:06:00 AM |
Monday, June 19, 2006 

Odds Against Henry's Re-Election

Only two Oklahoma governors have won re-election The Norman Transcript (excerpt) Gov. Brad Henry is asking the voters to elect him for another four-year term. That's a trick only four former guvs have tried and only two have turned. The governors who have served consecutive terms are Democrat George Nigh, originally from McAlester, and Republican Frank Keating, formerly of Tulsa. It might be argued that Nigh served three consecutive terms. The two incumbent chief executives who lost re-election bids were both Tulsans, Republican Dewey Bartlett and Democrat David Hall. Bartlett, who beat Preston Moore of Oklahoma City in 1966, lost to Hall in 1970. Posted at 6/19/2006 12:30:00 PM |

Ok Unemployment Rate Rising

While the national unemployment rate continues to drop during this strong economy, Oklahoma's jobless rate increased last month from 3.6% to 4.1%, according to a report from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Posted at 6/19/2006 12:02:00 PM |

OKC Signature Drive Manager Testifies Before Referee

Admits using out of state circulators for TABOR petition drive Marie Price The Journal Record (excerpt) OKLAHOMA CITY – The woman who managed the Oklahoma City signature drive for the challenged Taxpayer Bill of Rights ballot proposal answered “yes” Friday when asked whether she brought in any people from out of state to circulate TABOR petitions. Linda Howard, of Premier Ballot Access, said she was referring to circulator Russell Baggett, whose address was listed as Lawrenceville, Ga., on payment forms and other documents. Howard said Marie Kuhn, who is in the restaurant business with Baggett, also came to Oklahoma and circulated petitions. Kuhn’s own address was listed at Dacula, Ga., on some documents. Baggett is from Oklahoma, she said. Howard noted that some asked her to send IRS 1099s to the out-of-state address of a relative or friend. Howard said she had no idea whether the out-of-state addresses listed by other circulators were their own residences. Under state law, petition circulators must be Oklahoma residents. Posted at 6/19/2006 11:54:00 AM |
Friday, June 16, 2006 

Democrats Blink First On Budget

Agreement reached on state budget With two weeks left before a government shutdown, Oklahoma's two legislative leaders -Speaker Todd Hiett and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan - announced a budget agreement yesterday. Democrats said last week that they will "take as long as it takes" to get an agreement that was devoid of election year politics, even if it meant allowing the government to shut down. Oklahoma Political News Service believes Mr. Morgan received an overnight revelation and remembered that Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in 1996 to disastrous results for his party. Besides the raise in the standard deduction over four years, the agreement reached seems to be the same agreement that has been in the offering for weeks. OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) (excerpt) Legislative leaders reach agreement today on a state budget that includes phased-in reductions in the state income and estate taxes, phased-in increases in the standard deduction, a state employee pay raise and spending increases for colleges and universities. The plan would reduce the top income tax rate from 6-point-2-5 percent to 5-point-2-5 percent over four years, repeal the estate tax over three years and raise the standard deduction for low- and moderate-income taxpayers to the federal level over four years. It would also pump 210 (m) million dollars into state colleges and universities, give all public school teachers a 3-thousand-dollar annual raise, appropriate 270 (m) million dollars more to state highways and bridges and 85 (m) million dollars more for county roads and bridges. State workers also would see a pay increase of 5 percent beginning October 1st. Posted at 6/16/2006 09:27:00 AM |

Hearing begins on TABOR challenge

Group questioned about paid petitioners and 120,000 signatures OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) (excerpt) An attorney told an Oklahoma Supreme Court referee today that he'll present evidence to throw out more than 120-thousand signatures on a petition seeking to limit state government spending. The petition calls for a statewide vote on the so-called taxpayer-bill-of-rights initiative petition. The plan is commonly referred to as TABOR and would restrict increases in government spending to a combination of inflation and population growth. Attorney Kent Myers says at least 50-thosuand signatures should be thrown out because those signing are not registered to vote in Oklahoma. And he says thousands of others are invalid _ including many that he says were gathered by "professional" out-of-state circulators and were not properly notarized. Posted at 6/16/2006 08:29:00 AM |
Thursday, June 15, 2006 

Calvey Supported Spanish Language Driver's License Tests

Cites Oklahoma's lack of mass transit Seven months after 9/11, Kevin Calvey voted to allow Oklahoma residents to take their written driver's license test in Spanish. His justification for his vote: "When you can't get a driver's license, you can't get insurance, and you will drive illegally because Oklahoma doesn't have mass transit." A driver's inability to read road signs or warnings, not only endangers his or her own life, but also the lives of other drivers. Second, what does this measure say about America's time honored tradition of immigrants assimilating into our culture by learning English? Supporters of the bill said it was needed because it would enable many Oklahoma drivers to take the written test in Spanish, although they could not pass it in English. It seems the real question that should have been asked is: "why can't these folks speak English? The supporters also said they felt drivers could negotiate Oklahoma's roads if they displayed a competent knowledge of rules and etiquette, regardless of the test's language. Posted at 6/15/2006 09:11:00 AM |

OK Congressmen Defend Traditional Marriage

Send letter to Speaker seeking vote OKLAHOMA CITY (AP excerpt) All five U-S House members from Oklahoma ask House leaders today to schedule a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. A week after the Senate soundly rejected a similar gay marriage ban, the five Oklahoma congressmen sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois and Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, asking that the Marriage Protection Amendment be brought to the House floor for a vote this year. The letter is signed by Republican Representatives Ernest Istook, Frank Lucas, John Sullivan and Tom Cole and Democrat Representative Dan Boren. Posted at 6/15/2006 08:19:00 AM |
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 

Calvey Talk

Ad Watch: Week 2 In our continuing mission to keep politicians accountable for what they say, The Oklahoma Political News Service continues its Ad Watch. After investigating the veracity of Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett's involvement in removing gay themed books from the library, The Oklahoma Political News Service turns its sites on Club for Growth and their ad on behalf of Kevin Calvey. Stay tuned, sources tell us we should see some action on the TV from the governor's race as well. Club for Growth Ad: Calvey Talk (click here for audio) Announcer: "These days, lots of politicians say they're conservative. Kevin Calvey doesnt just talk. After September 11, Calvey enlisted in the National Guard, and continues to defend our freedoms today. In the legislature, Calvey wrote the largest tax cut in Oklahoma history, saving taxpayers millions. Calvey led the fight against corporate welfare bailouts and stood nearly alone against wasteful pork spending. Kevin Calvey: a true conservative leader. Now that's something special." Posted at 6/14/2006 09:08:00 AM |

"I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday"

State may need installment plan to pay for lake As we reported yesterday, the state of Oklahoma has been ordered to pay the federal government $60 million dollars for a mid 1970's water project. The state admits owing the money, but claimed the debt has not been paid due to the legislature not appropriating the money. Payments to the federal government stopped in 1997 - while Democrats were in control of both chambers. These are the folks who know best what to do with the nearly one billion dollar surplus? TULSA, Okla. (AP) (excerpt) State Treasurer Scott Meacham says the state may have to set up an installment plan to pay the federal government for building Sardis Lake in southeastern Oklahoma. The lake was built in 1974 to provide water for the state to sell to cities and industries and Oklahoma agreed to pay for the construction over 50 years plus pay operating costs. A spokesman for Attorney General Drew Edmondson says state lawyers are still deciding whether to appeal to the U-S Supreme Court. Posted at 6/14/2006 09:02:00 AM |

TABOR supporters, protestors to present cases to court referee

By Marie Price The Journal Record (excerpt) Signatures and petion circulators questioned OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorneys for both sides of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights ballot proposal are scheduled to appear before an Oklahoma Supreme Court referee beginning Thursday to argue their cases. Opponents have challenged both the content of the proposal and the petition drive launched to put the issue to a vote of the people. Under Oklahoma law, challenges to the initiative must be wrapped up at least 60 days before the November general election, or it will have to be placed on a later ballot. Gary Jones, chairman of STOP State Question 726, a major anti-TABOR group, expressed optimism Tuesday that the challengers will prevail in questioning enough signatures to keep TABOR off the ballot. He said the challenge alleging that the measure unconstitutionally covers more than one subject may be tougher. “In the state of Oklahoma, the Supreme Court has a real high litmus test in throwing out state questions on constitutional issues,” he said. “But we believe that if they read the constitution and follow it strictly by the letter of the law, this constitutional question violates the constitution.” Posted at 6/14/2006 08:40:00 AM |

Istook Votes Against Instate Tuition For Illegals

Congressman Istook voted yesterday for an amendment to the House Appropriations Committee's annual spending bill. The amendment discourages states from allowing illegal immigrants to pay in state tuition. The amendment takes aim at a bill signed by Governor Henry and the Democratically controlled legislature in 2003. Senate Democrats refused to repeal the law in the recently completed session. Congressman Istook said after the vote: "I think it's awful that the state of Oklahoma a couple of years ago passed this law to give the same tuition to illegals as they do to people who are residents of Oklahoma. I think it's wrong." Posted at 6/14/2006 08:17:00 AM |
Tuesday, June 13, 2006 

Cargill Survives As Speaker Designate

Hiett "humiliated" Online Democratic forum has the inside scoop on the just completed Speaker Designate election. It Appears all was not cookies and cream during the Republican caucus meeting: "Representative Lance Cargill survived an attempt by Todd Hiett to derail his candidacy. Outsiders heard alot(sic) of spin before the cauccus (sic) meeting, saw the group break after "heated discussions" only to reconvene. Here's the inside. Hiett was humiliated by Rep. Chris Hastings(Tulsa) in one of his last defiant acts. Hastings sucessfully moved to close debate and prohibit Hiett from discussing the questionable absentee ballots. The winner "Not ready for Prime Time" Lance Cargill, the big loser, Ex-Speaker Todd Hiett and Dan Sullivan. Several legislators will continue the mutiny by endorsing Sen. Pruitt in the primary for Lt. Gov. It seems some of these House GOP's will carry the grudge into the next election. Cargill faces Democrat Abe Warren in the November election. Hiett believes he is entitled to be Lt. Gov. Chris Hastings is in his final days and is laughing his a** off on his drive back to Tulsa." Posted at 6/13/2006 08:27:00 AM |

Crime Rises During Henry's Term

Tulsa, Oklahoma City lead state According to the National Institute of Corrections, the latest statistics available (2004) report that Oklahoma's overall crime rate is 17.92% higher than the national average and the correctional supervision rate (number of offenders supervised per 100,000) is 15.79% lower than the national average. According to FBI statistics that were release yesterday, Oklahoma's two largest cities crime rate is rising faster than the state as a whole. Crime figures for 2005 show the number of murders in Tulsa rose by 20 percent, an increase of ten more killings from 2004 to 2005. Oklahoma City faired somewhat better at 18%, with an increase of 15 more killings. Posted at 6/13/2006 08:20:00 AM |

Court Orders State To Pay Federal Government

The state of Oklahoma has been ordered by a federal appeals court to pay the federal government 60 million dollars for a 1974 water deal that went sour in southeaast Oklahoma. Until 2004, Democrats had controlled the House for the past eighty years, and they currently control the Senate. The state admits it owes the money but blames the legislature for not appropriating the money. Makes sense when you remember this is the same party that doesn't want to return a portion of the surplus back to the taxpayers. (AP) (excerpt) A federal appeals court says the state of Oklahoma must pay (m) millions of dollars to the federal government for Sardis Lake and its water supply. The debt has been estimated at 60 (m) million dollars. The government built the lake near Clayton in southeast Oklahoma in 1974 under a contract in which the state agreed to repay construction costs over 50 years and to pay for future operating costs. State officials admit the contract is valid, but say it's not enforceable until the Legislature appropriates money to pay it. Posted at 6/13/2006 08:04:00 AM |
Monday, June 12, 2006 

Republicans Pick Speaker Designate

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – State House Republicans will select a successor to Speaker Todd Hiett today when they return to the Capitol to choose one of three GOP colleagues who want to be named the House’s speaker designate. Former Floor Leader Lance Cargill of Harrah, current Floor Leader Dan Sullivan of Tulsa and Speaker Pro Tempore Susan Winchester of Chickasha are seeking the powerful House speaker’s job. Hiett, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election, is running for lieutenant governor. Hiett, of Kellyville, has said he is not actively supporting any candidate. A majority of the House’s GOP caucus must be present in order for the election to occur. Republicans outnumber Democrats 57-44 in the 101-member House. The winner of the speaker’s race will assume the position providing Republicans maintain control of the House in this fall’s round of elections. Posted at 6/12/2006 09:10:00 PM |

Istook Against Bombing Hearing

Has concerns for victims families Congressman Dan Rohrbacher, Chairman of the International Relations Subcommitee on Oversight and Investigations is planning to chair hearings on possible foreign involvement in the Murrah Federal Building bombing. He believes the connection between the conspirators- Tim McVey and Terry Nichols - and foreigners has never been investigated fully. Congressman Istook disagrees and expresses his concern for the families that will have to relive this tragedy once the hearings are convened. "I'm afraid we have to get used to this. Every few years someone wants to revisit the Kennedy assassination, and every few years someone will want to revisit the Murrah Building bombing. I feel for the families who have to relive tragic memories every time this happens." OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A California Congressman says he plans to hold a hearing on possible foreign ties to the Oklahoma City bombing. The Oklahoman reported from its Washington bureau that Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher announced Thursday that he will hold a hearing this fall on the topic. He says he's been "personally" researching the bombing and met with convicted conspirator Terry Nichol in prison in Colorado. Posted at 6/12/2006 08:52:00 AM |

Sen. Inhofe Headed Back To Iraq

The Tulsa World (excerpt) WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe left Friday for a weekend visit to Iraq to get a firsthand look into the impact of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death on American troops and the Iraqi people. "I am the only member of the Senate that is in a position to evaluate the changes that take place when a major event occurs," the Oklahoma Republican said. The veteran member of the Senate Armed Services Committee has made numerous trips to the war zone. Even before Inhofe left, he had joined others in singling out the death of al-Zarqawi, who had become one of Iraq's most feared terrorist leaders. He issued a statement calling the news of the U.S.-led attack that killed the top al-Qaida leader a "tremendous shot in the arm for both the U.S. military and the Iraqi security forces." "This terrorist was responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers and indeed thousands of Iraqi citizens," Inhofe said. "This accomplishment serves as a testament to the increased cooperation we continue to receive from the Iraqi people. The number of Iraqis offering tips to our intelligence people on the ground is rising and today we have seen the fruits of their labor." Posted at 6/12/2006 08:35:00 AM |
Friday, June 09, 2006 

Senate Democrats: "We Are Determined To Stay Here As Long as It Takes"

Reject Republican's call for a standstill budget Just yesterday, and the day before yesterday, Governor Henry and House Speaker Hiett were assuring us that a budget agreement was near completion. Governor Henry even went on record saying that the budget was "99% complete." Today, that prediction seems to have been made thru rose colored glasses. Senate Democratic members are strongly hinting that they will shut the government down, rather than give taxpayers relief from taxes from the nearly one billion dollar surplus. Lt. Governor candidate State Sen. Cal Hobson, D-Lexington said regarding the impasse, It' a mystery to me." He later became a little more candid and suggested politics may be playing a role: This year's election is like the elephant in the living room or maybe it's a donkey, said Hobson. There's been a whole lot more campaigning than budget writing. One Senate Democratic members accused his across the aisle colleagues of causing anxiety among citizens dependent on state services. Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore said, "Passing a standstill budget should be a last resort, to do so now would create unnecessary anxiety among Oklahomans who count on critical services in their everyday lives. We're still working, and we're not ready to throw up our hands." Is Senator Crutchfield suggesting that passing a temporary budget, to avoid disruption of state services, will cause more anxiety than having the government actually shut down on July 1st? If he is, it is a interesting way of analyzing the current budget impasse. Posted at 6/09/2006 09:21:00 AM |

Prison Guards Furloughed Under Govt. Shutdown

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) excerpt "There's still no word on when legislators may resume budget negotiations. If they don't reach agreement on a spending plan by July 1st, the state would be looking at a governmental shutdown. Such a shutdown has never occurred in Oklahoma, and officials are hopeful it won't happen this time, but some contingency planning is going on. One possibility is that the National Guard might have to be activated to watch prison inmates. Director Claudia San Pedro of the Office of State Finance says that at the very least lawmakers could approve a standstill budget authorizing funding at the previous year's levels to assure state agencies can continue operating." Posted at 6/09/2006 09:01:00 AM |

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

(Oklahoma Political News Service Exclusive) KFOR Takes Down Poll of 5th District Front Runners KFOR-TV has taken a poll it conducted for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional district off of its website. The poll - done by Survey USA - sampled 408 likely Republican voters in the 5th Congressional district and showed Mary Fallin at 46% and Mick Cornett receiving 33% support. All other candidates received 17 % combined. On June 7, 2006 at 6pm, the survey was on the KFOR-TV website. As of today, all traces of the survey were removed from KFOR-TV’s website, as well as Survey USA’s website. Sources speculate to us that calls from unhappy campaigns prompted the KFOR-TV’s actions. KFOR-TV was given a chance to comment, but calls to their office were not returned. The Oklahoma Political News Service is investigating... Posted at 6/09/2006 08:46:00 AM |

Inhofe, Coburn Vote To Eliminate Estate Tax

Senators' Inhofe and Coburn voted yesterday to permanently eliminate the aptly named "death tax". Like the telephone tax that was enacted to fund the Spanish American war, the estate tax was initiated in 1916 to help fund the first World War. Later, it was enacted into the tax code to prevent the accumulation of huge, inherited fortunes. Fortunately, the telephone tax was recently repealed, but unfortunately, the estate tax has received another life from moderate Republicans and Senate Democrats. The Death tax clearly is an example of double taxation of wealth. It can collect up to forty-six percent of the value of estates when the owner dies. Most impacted by the estate tax are family owned farms; many are described as "land rich but cash poor." To pay the exorbitant death tax, many families are forced to sell land or equipment, often crippling their ability to farm at all. In worst case scenarios, the farm families borrow to pay off the death taxes owed, thus increasing their already indebtedness. Hopefully by 2010, when the estate tax is scheduled to be back on the books, lawmakers will have the courage to do what's right. OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) (excerpt) Oklahoma's two Senators voted for a bill to eliminate or reduce the estate tax that failed to advance today.The vote was 57-to-41 with 60 votes needed to advance the bill. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn both voted for the measure. Current law calls for the estate tax to be reduced each year until it disappears in 20-10, then it would return the following year. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says the Senate will vote again this year on eliminating the tax. Posted at 6/09/2006 08:33:00 AM |

Oklahoma Gazette Blasts “Fab Four on Grammar”

"You would think that some employee of either Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode, state Rep. Fred Morgan or state Rep. Kevin Calvey’s campaign would know how to use a comma. Alas, after describing how Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett has falsely taken credit for moving gay-themed books out of children’s access in public libraries in a radio ad, the fab foursome (which, if it were a book title, would probably need to be removed as well) unloaded with this doozy of a sentence: "On both parts, both his claim that he led the effort, and that the issue is solved are simply incorrect. After receiving this press release, I happened to be at the Capitol June 7 meeting with Calvey. On my way out, I got lost (as usual) and wound up wandering down another hallway full of representatives’ offices. Like a blind squirrel finding an acorn, I saw a little sign protruding above one door that said "Sally Kern." I asked her what had happened. She responded with a general rundown of what the release said, and then she said a little more. Cornett apparently did vote on the issue "about a month" before — something I didn ’t understand. I asked Kern if she had heard the commercial and had taken her concerns to the four candidates. She said no. They had contacted her, she said, either personally or via campaign representative. She said she gave them a statement and wanted no more of it. She said it was their race to run and she didn’t want to be involved." Posted at 6/09/2006 07:05:00 AM |

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