For Immediate Release: September 16, 2013
OKGOP Calls on Reps. Dorman and Morisette to Cease Petition Initiative
Reps Misuse State Resources, Violate Ethics Rules
(Oklahoma City)–Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Dave Weston this morning called on State Representatives Morisette and Dorman to cease formation of a Petition Initiative which violates state ethics rules and calls into serious question private political motives.
The initiative calls for a ballot drive to gain signatures sufficient to put a question on the 2014 ballot that would mandate a $500 million bond for tornado shelter construction around the state.
Weston opined, “Whether or not we can do more to ensure better public safety is a valid question. However, the temptation to use another man’s money to satisfy a personal concern is the road to perdition.”
Rep. Dorman is utilizing the house email system to promote a petition to promote taxpayer funding of school storm shelters. Both he and Rep. Morrisette recently utilized the capitol media room, capitol cameras and production staff to film a promotional press conference. They utilized house staff to write and promote press releases. This is an egregious violation of taxpayer trust because the resources seek to legitimize a project which needs to fully vetted by the public.
Weston continued, “No matter how worthy an issue may be, initiative petitions should be funded by those who believe in them, not the taxpayers. Just because you support a worthy cause doesn’t mean that you are entitled to misuse state resources and taxpayer trust.”
Past ballot initiatives, including Right-to-Work and the Anti-Cock-Fighting petitions, did not use public means to promote the issues. State Representatives Dorman and Morrisette are setting a very bad precedent. Government resources should not be used to petition additional spending by that same government.
“Opportunistic grandstanding by those who should know better is distasteful. This petition initiative should cease and desist until a viable Steering Committee can be formed that can disassociate from elected officials like Dorman and Morrisette with political ambitions. We commend anyone who wants to promote this cause with private funds, but it should not be done with the use of state resources to co-opt a commendable purpose for personal gain,” Weston concludes.