FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Statement on Pending Open Records Requests
[Oklahoma City, OK, November 12, 2015] The following is the statement provided by Oklahoma Democratic Party chair, Mark Hammons, on pending open records requests, suggested changes to Ethics Rules, and an ethics complaint regarding Governor Fallin’s possible violations:
“Last week it was disclosed that Governor Fallin had interfered in a medical board investigation. Rather than providing evidence of when and why she took that action, Governor Fallin arrogantly assumed she could simply say that there were no bad intentions and the matter would end.
“They duty of the Governor is to set an example, but this Governor’s example has been to operate behind closed doors and ignore accountability.
“For a year and a half, the Governor has a stonewalled her duty to comply with the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
“In June, Governor Fallin, using funds that she still has not disclosed, abandoned her responsibilities to Oklahoma, to take a Paris junket. We asked for the records of what money she received, who paid her husband’s expenses and where the money went. She has refused to answer.
“Following that, Governor Fallin violated the law to move her daughter’s mobile home onto the taxpayer’s mansion. She not only violated use restrictions, she took taxpayer money to pay for the living costs. Any other citizen would pay a fine – has the Governor?
“Any other citizen would have to repay the cost of siphoned water, electric, and utilities. Has the Governor done that? Our citizens need answers and need to know that Governor Fallin is not above the law.
“Last week, Oklahoma learned that Governor Fallin pulled strings for a political ally and did so behind closed doors.
“This week, the entire nation was told that Oklahoma’s grad on ethics and openness was an “F.” Governor Fallin’s response has been silence.
“This Monday, Governor Fallin was sued by a citizen’s organization for refusing to comply with Open Records. That violation is itself potentially criminal. Again, no explanation, only arrogant silence.
“It is apparent that there will be no voluntary accounting from this Governor. She will act only if the law compels it and the public demands it. So today we are filing an ethics complaint and asking for a full investigation of these violations. And, if we must, we are willing to go further and seek a grand jury investigation.
“But we are also appealing to a more powerful group. One that can investigate. One that can inform. A group that the public regards as more honest and influential than any of the three branches of governments. That group is you, the members of the press, the Fourth Estate. I am asking you not to take the word of the Democratic Party, nor should you take the word of the Governor. I am asking you to do what a free press has historically done so well. Conduct an independent investigation, report to the citizens and be this State’s guardian of truth and honesty.”