Report shows need for board, commission reform in Oklahoma
by THE OKLAHOMAN EDITORIAL BOARD

WHENEVER government corruption and mismanagement occur, it’s asked why such abuses have been tolerated. Yet those outcomes may be a direct result of government structure, as a new report makes clear.

“Baked-In Corruption: The Need to Reform Boards and Commissions,” by the conservative 1889 Institute, points out the institutional structure of Oklahoma state boards and commissions often gives special interests outsized representation, fueling conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and groupthink.

“We’ve essentially given licensing boards, health boards, and educational boards a license to self-deal,” said the study’s author, Byron Schlomach, economist and director of the Oklahoma City-based institute.

The report notes “every licensing agency is headed by a board comprised mostly of individuals licensed to practice the profession they regulate. Virtually every decision they make impacts their own professional practice directly or indirectly and is almost bound to have financial implications for each of the board members.”

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