Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oklahoma Governor Fallin Receives Black Hole Award for Second Year in a Row

Fallin and her attorney, Steve Mullins, were recognized a year ago for citing executive privilege – which doesn’t exist under Oklahoma law (Freedom of Information OK)
Guess the word 'transparency' was only a con when Gov Fallin ran for office.  To win the award for the second year in a row means only her first year she didn't qualify but have to wonder how close she came.  What happened to the Mary Fallin a lot of us thought would be a good Governor who cared about all Oklahomans?  Obvious to more and more people she only cares when the spotlight is on her. Should have known that from the Congressional campaign that she ran in the primary -- win at any costs and truth goes out the window.  Turning out to be a partisan hack as Governor like so many other Republican Governors who support the wealthy, cut education and ignore infrastructure.  Forgot the most important part -- diss Affordable Care Act (ACA) at every turn, refuse to take the federal exchanges and money, and screw the citizens and taxpayers of Oklahoma royally with the partisan lawsuit antics on ACA.

Fallin is head of the Governor's Association which means she comes in contact with President Obama. Would like to know how she squares that with her hard right base who detests him here in Oklahoma based on lies which our local politicians know are lies starting with our two Senators not to mention our Congressmen.  Does she tell them a different story in private?

How Oklahoma members of Congress lie to your constituents over and over again about President Obama is beyond me.  Worse is that The Oklahoman seems to ignore the lies unlike the Tulsa World. Personally think The Oklahoman has gone downhill since it was sold and now go to the Tulsa World for most of my information.  Then there is always The Oklahoma Policy Institute which is non-partisan no matter what Republicans say where you always get sourced information -- highly recommend you sign up for their Daily Newsletter to get the facts.

Having worked for the Federal Government and handled Freedom of Information requests, we were told not to stall but handle the requests right away because the longer wait the worse they get.  Our office was responsible for a USAF Medical Center so we got the worst ones to answer, had get all the info, redacted, and then had my boss review and sign off on the reply.  Command Surgeon had a policy that you answer them ASAP with an initial response and then follow up in a timely manner.  He was adamant on not stalling because nothing good comes from a stall.  Looks like Governor Fallin could use some of his wise advice.

Why did Gov Fallin hire a private attorney and not use the Attorney General who keeps suing the Federal Government at every turn.  Stalling seems right up his alley.  The GOP Attorney General is out of control -- what got me is when he joined in with the lawsuit by the millionaire owner of Hobby Lobby on ACA birth control requirement.  What is the Attorney General of State doing being involved with a private business?  Never mind as big donors get special privileges.  Republicans in Oklahoma have gone over the edge of the cliff.  Now the Governor is caught in a lie about transparency for the second year in a row!  Imagine that!  Channel 4 news has the story:
Gov. Fallin earns latest award, but it is not a good thingPosted on: 6:15 pm, March 17, 2014, by Dallas Franklin and KFOR-TV

An organization whose goal is to support groups and individuals trying to access open records or have access to meetings that are illegally closed has named our governor as this year’s recipient of an award no state official would want to receive. 
Local organization, Freedom of Information Oklahoma, has recognized Governor Mary Fallin as this year’s recipient of their Black Hole recognition. 
The Black Hole award recognizes an individual, agency or organization that has most thwarted the free flow of information. 
According to FOI Oklahoma, Gov. Fallin was named as deserving the Black Hole recognition for damaging access to records that should be easily available to the public. 
Gov. Fallin has received many complaints regarding delayed access to public records for sometimes more than a year. 
The Tulsa World reportedly waited 15 months for the governor’s office to release more than 8,000 records related to prison reforms.
This is the second year in a row that Gov. Fallin has received the recognition for failing to release records to the public. 
Two new lawsuits have been filed because of her office’s slow relase of public records, and today another organization joined the list. 
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma Foundation filed a motion for summary judgement and a supporting legal brief today in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of Vandelay Entertainment, the publisher of, in its suit against Gov. Fallin. 
According to a release, the suit seeks a court order compelling Gov. Fallin to release 100 pages of public records she has refused to turn over regarding her decision to reject medicaid expansion. 
Governor Mary Fallin has hired a private law firm to defend her office in this ongoing open records lawsuit
Haven't gotten over making the Tulsa World wait 15 months?  Was the Fallin Administration hiding something or are they that incompetent?  Either way she looks to be over her head as Governor and listens to way too many people giving her bad advice.  This from the Freedom of Information Oklahoma organization about the award they gave Gov Fallin:
Gov. Mary Fallin is a repeat recipient of the Black Hole recognition for persistent stonewalling on requests for public records. Fallin is the first repeat recipient of the Black Hole. 
Fallin and her attorney, Steve Mullins, were recognized a year ago for citing executive privilege – which doesn’t exist under Oklahoma law – in refusing to turn over emails regarding the state health insurance exchange. A lawsuit was filed for full release of the emails. 
Two new lawsuits have been filed because of her office’s slow release of public records via the creation of a “first-come, first served’’ procedure. 
Her attorneys argue that access delayed is not access denied. 
The Tulsa World waited 15 months for the governor’s office to release more than 8,000 records related to prison reforms. 
“First-come, first-served” resulted in an Open Records Act lawsuit filed in late October by the governor’s former Tulsa office director. 
Wendy Gregory’s attorney said Fallin’s staff had “stonewalled” his request for her personnel records for “the past six or eight months.”  In January, the judge refused to dismiss that case. 
Also, the mothers of two Moore schoolchildren killed in the May tornadoes filed suit accusing Fallin of violating the Open Records Act by not releasing records related to school safety that were requested several months earlier. 
FOI Oklahoma recognizes Black Hole recipients but does not make an award presentation.
Please check out FOI Oklahoma for more info on Black Hole Recipients
My mind is boggled how Fallin and her private lawyer cited 'Executive Privilege' on turning over emails when 'Executive Privilege' does not exist under Oklahoma Law.  What am I missing?  How can they be that dumb not realize that 'Executive Privilege' does not exist in Oklahoma since Fallin was Lt Governor for 12 years, before going to Congress for four years, and now Governor?

To all Oklahoma voters, please do not just mark a straight party ballot but THINK and do some research on the candidates which is exactly what Republicans don't want you to do.  Time to Turn Oklahoma Back Blue as the Republican experiment has been a disaster and getting worse.  Cost the taxpayers school funding, infrastructure funding, and millions in unnecessary lawsuits filed by this Attorney General.  That doesn't even take into account all the bills pass by the legislature, approved by the Attorney General, and signed by the Governor declared unconstitutional by various judges.

My favorite is the Oklahoma Constitutional requirement that every bill only deal with one subject and last time they had a bill that was declared unconstitutional because it dealt with three subjects.  Are Republicans that stupid or did they try to sneak it through which was never going to happen.  More waste of tax dollars by the Republicans in charge.

Have a good rest of the Spring Break week and enjoy the Final 64 Basketball Tournament -- Go Sooners -- both men's and women's teams are in the Tournament.   

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