Friday, April 28, 2017

Senate votes to create new commission for performance audits of state agencies

Sen. Pro Tem Mike Schulz

The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday in a bipartisan vote approved a bill creating an independent commission to conduct comprehensive performance audits of state agencies. House Bill 2311 is authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus, and House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka.

The bill creates the Agency Performance and Accountability Commission which is directed to conduct a comprehensive performance audit of state agencies, as well as conduct a diagnostic analysis of the state’s budget to identify spending trends. The commission would then make recommendations to the Legislature on how to implement best practices from both the private and public sector to ensure state government services are run in the most cost-effective manner.

“This year’s budget shortfall highlights the need to ensure state government is operating efficiently, but during ‘bad’ or ‘good’ budgets our goal remains the same: to ensure the most cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars. This measure will provide lawmakers with independent data to help us make more well-informed decisions about the state’s spending priorities. Oklahoma taxpayers deserve a state government run efficiently and one that delivers service at a high level and this bill moves us one step closer to achieving those goals,” Schulz said.

The measure now returns to the House for consideration of Senate amendments to the bill.

I will be honest - my knee-jerk reaction is why on earth do we need yet another commission, given that Oklahoma already has somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 agencies, boards and commissions. This may well be a great idea - and some people I talked to think it is - but creating more bureaucracy to rein in bureaucracy doesn't immediately sound like a winner to me.

Former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn routinely talked about waste and duplication in government, including boards and commissions operating with the same or similar mission yet failing to accomplish their stated goals. Is this just another example? I don't know. I don't see why we can't use an existing agency (the State Auditor & Inspector's office) to perform this duty.

The measure first passed the House 64 to 24, with only Democrats voting against. It passed the Senate 41 to 4, again with only Democrats voting against. That does may me think I'm being too hard on the measure, as not one single conservative evidently had misgivings about the idea.

You can read the Senate-amended version here. It goes back to the House for consideration, and if passed without amendment goes to the Governor for signing.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Morton Blackwell, fmr. State Sen. Garrison endorse Coleman for Congress

Andy Coleman, one of five Republicans running to succeed Congressman Jim Bridenstine in the 1st District, recently released two endorsements of his candidacy (the second in this list is one that I missed early in the month):



[Tulsa, OK] April 26, 2017 – On Tuesday, conservative stalwart Morton Blackwell personally endorsed Andy Coleman as the most competent and conservative candidate for the U.S. House in Oklahoma’s First Congressional District.  Blackwell formerly served on President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff, and now presides as president and founder of the Leadership Institute.  Morton also chairs the Conservative Leadership PAC, and is widely regarded as a founding father of the contemporary conservative movement.

“Given the daunting challenges it faces, America needs principled, well-rounded conservatives to rise up and lead; servant leaders armed with courage, values, and relevant experience,” said Blackwell.  “For that reason, I happily endorse Andy Coleman in his campaign for U.S. Congress.”

Coleman seeks to replace Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who previously announced his intention not TO seek reelection following his current term.

Blackwell, former special assistant to President Reagan, actively assists true conservatives in Republican primaries.  He insists that conservatives can trust Coleman to represent them, because Coleman is a tested and proven patriot.

“A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Andy served our country as a military intelligence officer in Iraq,” Blackwell explained.  “As a law student, Andy served as an editor on the Law Review.  But more significant for me, he stood boldly for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and the principles of limited government enshrined by the U.S. Constitution.  He practiced law at a large law firm, but laid that down to serve the Persecuted Church in the world’s most dangerous countries.”

“This unique blend of fortitude, intellect, values, and experience is a type of background sadly rare in Washington,” Blackwell continued.  “Simply put, Andy has the courage and skills needed to advance our conservative principles.  That is why I am endorsing Andy Coleman.  I urge serious Republicans in Oklahoma’s First District to send him to Congress.”

Coleman is honored to join hands with a fellow conservative fighter.  “I am profoundly grateful to receive the endorsement of such a consequential conservative leader as Morton Blackwell,” said Coleman.  “Not only has he been a full-throated champion of the conservative cause for decades, but he’s also intentionally developed generations of rising conservative leaders.  Morton Blackwell clearly takes a long view of America’s well-being, which is so important to me.  I am truly honored and humbled by his support.”

Blackwell’s endorsement comes on the heels of one made earlier this month by Denny Garrison, the former Oklahoma State Republican Senate Leader.  You can learn more about Andy Coleman and his campaign by visiting www.AndyColeman.org.



[Bartlesville] April 2nd, 2017 – Andy Coleman, Republican U.S. congressional candidate for Oklahoma’s First District, received the endorsement of former Oklahoma State Senator Denzil “Denny” Garrison last Friday. Garrison has a long and distinguished record of public service. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict, Garrison later served as the county attorney of Washington County. Eventually, Garrison served 16 years in the Oklahoma Legislature as the Republican minority leader in both the State House and Senate.

“Andy’s unique background—particularly his service overseas with the military—sets him apart,” said Garrison. “America needs leaders with that type of service and experience. And that’s why I am supporting him in his race.”

Coleman is running to replace Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who previously announced his intention not to seek reelection following the current term.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this important endorsement,” said Coleman. “I admire what Senator Garrison has done for Bartlesville, for Oklahoma, and for the United States of America.”

Coleman is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, a military veteran of Iraq, and a former attorney. For the last several years, he led all field efforts in the Middle East for The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a Bartlesville-based Christian ministry that helps persecuted Christians in the world’s most difficult countries. In that sensitive role, Coleman travelled throughout the region 80 to 100 days each year, and oversaw an extensive annual project portfolio.

You can learn more about Andy Coleman and his campaign by visiting www.AndyColeman.org.

Another resignation: State Sen. Kyle Loveless steps down


State Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-OKC) abruptly resigned today, amid investigations by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission and Oklahoma County District Attorney's office into possible campaign finance violations.

Loveless was first elected in 2012, and had made civil asset forfeiture reform his primary mission in recent years, getting major opposition from some in the law enforcement community.

This becomes the fifth resignation in the legislature since the 2016 general election; State Rep. Tom Newell (for a private sector job), State Rep. Dan Kirby (sexual harassment allegations), State Rep. Scott Martin (for private sector job), State Sen. Ralph Shortey (child prostitution arrest). State Rep. David Brumbaugh's sudden passing creates another vacancy requiring a special election.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

OCPAC endorses Tressa Nunley in HD75 special election


Oklahoma’s Premier Conservative Group Endorses Tressa Nunley 
in House District 75 Special Election

Oklahoma Conservative PAC members interviewed candidates for the Oklahoma State House District 75 - Special Election for Broken Arrow and Tulsa voters. The contested Republican primary is coming up quickly on Tuesday, May 9th.

John Michener, the President of OCPAC, released the following statement:

“After a survey and interview process, OCPAC members voted overwhelmingly to endorse Tressa Nunley for Oklahoma House District 75.  We were impressed with the way she articulated fiscal conservatism and the need to champion liberty.  Citizens in Broken Arrow and Tulsa should feel good about voting for Tressa to defend their interests at the Capitol.”

Tressa Nunley expressed her appreciation for the endorsement, stating, “I am grateful for the time given by this great group of Oklahoma conservatives to meet me, share ideas, ask tough questions on relevant topics, and to discuss workable solutions for the challenges facing our state.  I have spent my 25-year business career making decisions based on my Christian, conservative principles, and that track record shows that I am committed to earning trust and delivering on promises. I look forward to working together with all to find answers and place Oklahoma on the right fiscal track while standing for conservative, constitutional principles.

Tressa Nunley is a successful businesswoman and Realtor serving her hometown community. A lifelong Tulsan, Nunley graduated from Nathan Hale High School, and the University of Oklahoma with a Business Administration degree. She and her husband Marc are active members of Tulsa Bible Church and have four granddaughters, two in Oklahoma who attend local public schools and two who live in Hawaii where their parents are serving in the U.S. Army.

For more information on Tressa Nunley, please visit her website at www.TressaNunley.com or on Facebook at Tressa Nunley for State Representative.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Gary Richardson announces campaign for Governor

Tulsa attorney and past Republican (2nd Congressional District: 1978 and 1980) and Independent (Governor: 2002) political candidate Gary Richardson announced today that he is officially running for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018. Richardson had been exploring the possibility for the past several months.

Here is his announcement video:


You can visit his website here.

Candidates so far for Governor are:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bridenstine endorses Pinnell for Lieutenant Governor

Pinnell and Bridenstine at precinct meetings in 2013

At the Tulsa Republican Club meeting today, it was announced that Congressman Jim Bridenstine is endorsing Matt Pinnell for Lieutenant Governor.

Bridenstine sent me the following statement:
"Matt Pinnell is a proven leader in Republican politics. He has experience representing Oklahoma at the national level and will be a tremendous asset selling the many unique capabilities and opportunities of our great state. I am proud to endorse Matt Pinnell for Oklahoma's next Lieutenant Governor."
You can follow Pinnell's campaign on Facebook or at his website.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Scott Inman seeks Democratic nomination for Governor


Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-OKC) announced his candidacy for Governor today with the following video:



He joins former State Sen. Connie Johnson and Norman Brown in seeking the Democratic nomination in 2018 for Governor. Inman is term-limited.

Matt Pinnell announces for Lieutenant Governor

Former OKGOP Chairman Matt Pinnell sent the following email out this afternoon, announcing his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor:



When I graduated from Oral Roberts University I was challenged and reminded to “make no little plans.” Those words have driven me ever since.

For the last several months my family, friends, and fellow Oklahomans have encouraged me to continue a lifelong fight — making Oklahoma a place where our children and grandchildren can prosper and succeed for generations to come.

That's why I'm excited to tell you I'm running to be Oklahoma’s next Lieutenant Governor in 2018!

My skills and experiences have uniquely prepared me to serve Oklahoma at this critical moment in our state’s history.


As I’ve traveled the country helping to elect Donald Trump and win Republican majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, Oklahoma has always remained home. I have met so many Oklahomans who share my vision for an innovative, prosperous, and forward-looking state. This is why I've kept my family in Oklahoma, why Lisa and I started our small business here, and what has led me to run for Lieutenant Governor today.

I’ve worked tirelessly in the trenches of the grassroots throughout my career. When I became state Republican Party chairman, we focused on charting a new course for the state party and helped deliver incredible victories. I then took that same passion to the national level, where I oversaw all 50 state parties. It was hard work, but it helped develop me into the leader I am today.

I don’t make small plans, and Oklahoma shouldn’t either.

I’m asking you to join my team today, and to be a part of our fight to build a proud, prosperous, Oklahoma. If you're with me, please like my campaign page on Facebook and click here to visit my website.

Thank you,
Matt Pinnell

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kevin Hern raises $242,000 in First Quarter


Kevin Hern Posts First Quarter Contributions Eclipsing $240,000

Tulsa, OK – U.S. Congressional candidate Kevin Hern, businessman of Tulsa, has reported contributions totaling $242,690, outperforming all of his opponents combined. Hern is seeking Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Representative Jim Bridenstine who has declared to not seek re-election in 2018.

As the owner of KTAK Corporation, Kevin leads the operations that own ten McDonald’s restaurants that employ over 400 people in the Tulsa area. Kevin has served in various regional and national leadership positions within the McDonald’s Franchise System. Most recently, he served 5 years as the Chairman of the Systems Economic Team for over 3,000 franchisees that own all 15,000 restaurants across the entire country.

“I am humbled by the early support I have received,” Hern said. “I believe the people want a representative in Washington who is a private sector businessman that understands the true impact of how egregious regulations and inconsistent tax policies affect the wallets of our citizens.”

Longtime Tulsa GOP activist and Finance Chairman of Hern for Congress, Frazier Henke IV, states, “Kevin believes the dysfunction and incompetence in Washington must end and will work to bring jobs and decency back to America. He will fight the government’s intervention into our everyday lives and will be a strong advocate for conservative values. His self-made rise from poverty to major business success is the type of experience we need in Washington right now and I am honored to be on his team.”

Kevin is a proven and tested leader. His greatest love is to his help aspiring entrepreneurs create new businesses so they can pursue the American dream. Hern has also served as a State Board Member on the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma, FFA of Oklahoma, and served as Finance Chair for the OKGOP in the 2016 cycle supporting conservative candidates for local, state, & federal offices.

To reach Kevin’s campaign, please visit www.HernforCongress.com or call 918-296-7710.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mullin downplays FEC 'Statement of Candidacy'; plus a detailed assessment

Following my post on Saturday and some Tulsa-area news organizations picking up the story, Congressman Markwayne Mullin's campaign is downplaying the impact of the Statement of Candidacy he recently filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Here's a short press release the Mullin campaign issued:

Mullin Response to Blog Post

Westville - "Recent blog posts and media reports claiming Congressman Mullin has filed for re-election are inaccurate. These false reports appear to have been generated by a routine filing with the Federal Election Commission. Congressman Mullin and his family are continuing to pray about this important decision."

Since the press release complains about "inaccurate" and "false reports", let's review the matter in detail. On March 1st, Mullin received a warning from the FEC, stating:
This letter constitutes formal written notification that Mullin for Congress is filing reports of receipts and disbursements (FEC FORM 3) that appear to be for the 2018 election. A review of these reports indicates that your principal campaign committee has no debts from the previous election cycle, and has accepted contributions and/or made expenditures in support of your 2018 candidacy in excess of $5,000, thus meeting the definition of "candidate" per Federal Election Campaign Laws. (11 CFR §100.3(a))

You must either disavow these activities by notifying the Commission in writing that you are not a candidate, or redesignate your principal campaign committee by filing a Statement of Candidacy (FEC FORM 2) within thirty-five (35) days from the date of this letter. 

If Congressman Mullin had not decided yet whether he would break his term-limits pledge and seek a fourth term, he could simply have "disavowed these activities by notifying the Commission in writing that [he is] not a candidate", and ceased campaign activities (such as fundraising) until he made up his mind.

Instead, the next day, on March 2nd, Mullin declared his 2018 candidacy with the Federal Election Commission by filing this Statement of Candidacy form:


Has Markwayne Mullin filed his candidacy with the Oklahoma Secretary of State? No; the filing period to appear on the ballot has not arrived yet (it will be in April 2018). Does that mean he is not a candidate until that time? No. Here's what determines the threshold of a candidate, directly from the FEC:


Mullin meets at least three of those four conditions.

Mullin says he has not decided whether he will seek a fourth term or not (despite his black-and-white, oft-repeated pledge to serve no more than three terms), and that he is not yet a candidate for re-election. The FEC says otherwise, and his Statement of Candidacy form and his campaign fundraising since the 2016 general election is their proof.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine made the same term-limits pledge Mullin did. Unlike his 2nd District colleague, Bridenstine has been clear that he will keep his word and not seek a fourth term. Did Mullin have to file his Statement of Candidacy because his campaign account has cash in it? No. Bridenstine and Mullin have over $150,000 in their campaign accounts, yet only one of them had to file a Statement of Candidacy with the FEC. Why is that? Because Bridenstine isn't raising funds for 2018. That's what a non-candidate does. That's what someone who isn't seeking reelection does.

Mullin raised $139,578 in the first quarter ($114,450 from PACs), spent $121,651, and had $170,260 cash on hand at the close of the reporting period. Bridenstine? He's raised $0 since November 8th (election day), and is in the process of dispersing the remainder of his campaign funds.

If Congressman Mullin had any intention to not seek reelection, thus keeping his word to not run for a fourth term, he would not have continued to seek campaign contributions after the 2016 election ended. That's what Jim Bridenstine did.

Markwayne Mullin, by signing the Statement of Candidacy form, agreed to the following statements:

  • "Name of Candidate (in full): Mullin, Markwayne, Mr."
  • "State & District of Candidate: OK  02"
  • "I hereby designate the following named political committee [Mullin for Congress] as my Principal Campaign Committee for the 2018 election."
  • "I hereby authorize the following named committee [Mullin Victory Fund], which is NOT my principal campaign committee, to receive and expend funds on behalf of my candidacy."
  • "I certify that I have examined this Statement and to the best of my knowledge and belief it is true, correct and complete."

If it walks like a duck... talks like a duck... and is called a duck by the duck-keeper... it's a duck. As long as Markwayne Mullin continues to raise funds and conduct campaign activities, he is a candidate for reelection in 2018, thus breaking his term-limits pledge.

Former Tulsa DA Tim Harris running for Congress

From the ORU Oracle:


[ORU] Adjunct professor and alumus Tim Harris running for congress

“I am announcing a congressional candidate,” said former District Attorney Tim Harris April 2017.

Tulsa County saw Harris serve a record setting record 16 years as district attorney, aiming to fight for the rights for victims of crime.

Recently, Congressman Jim Bridenstine has not endorsed Harris’ campaign, but encouraged him to run. Bridenstine is “self-term limited by his own choice” according to Harris. Bridenstine is also in line to be considered for the director of NASA inside the Trump Administration

Harris reports if he gets that appointment there will be a special election called by Gov. Mary Fallin no early than 60 days after Bridenstine vacates the position. On the normal cycle for election the primary is set for June of 2018; however with this change, it could be a special primary set for September and October in 2017.

“That’s why I’m announcing now,” said Harris. “If this is the Lords call, and he has told me to run, God never tells you to do something without equipping you to do it.”

Currently an adjunct professor of law at ORU, Harris, a self proclaim constitutionalist, has had his heart set on justice in the court of law for as long as he can remember.

“I wanted to be a lawyer since I was eight or nine,” said Harris. “Went to college did a couple years, I was visiting my brother in South America and ended up going for eight months. That’s where we did our mission work, it was one of the most amazing trips of a life time.”

After spending time in the mission field, Harris found himself as a construction worker with a dream still inside to become a lawyer. Later he returned to school at the University of Wisconsin to achieve his undergraduate in Behavioral Science and Law.

“My parents came through Tulsa and picked up a brochure on the O.W. Coburn School of Law [ORU’s former law school]. I read that, and started calling around,” said Harris as he was looking to continue on into law school, and encountered ORU in the early stages of the university.

The ORU O.W. Coburn School of Law would attain accreditation while Harris was in attendance, and after successfully passing his Bar examinations, the now Lawyer, from Milwaukee, found himself quickly at the District Attorney office in downtown Tulsa.

“My senior year here I started interning with the district attorneys office, the prosecution bug bit me,” said Harris. “All of a sudden it was like the Tulsa County Courthouse, I can advocate for victims of crime and children. I can move the ball forward at this mission field called the courthouse.”

After serving the people of Tulsa in public service for close to tw0 decades, Harris felt the need step away in the 2014 election.

“In late 2014 the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and said He has another chapter for me. Four different election cycles in four-year terms, I was supposed to be there. This was my mission field.”

In 2013 the Tulsa World released an article entitled ‘Tulsa Count District Attorney Tim Harris will not seek re-election in 2013,’ covering the details of his service through 1998-2014. Although this transition to Steve Kunzweiler the current DA looked like a career retirement, for Harris it was a preparation season for what dreams lay ahead.

“I kept seeking His face what is this new chapter, and the Lord told me to put my team together, so that’s what I am doing,” said Harris. “I see our constitutional rights being eaten away; our religious liberties are being taken away from us. I want to go to Washington for the people of the first district for people of Oklahoma and America to keep our constitutional rights in tact.”

Following years of serving as the first director of Crimes Against Children and being apart of the first specialty child abuse team in Tulsa County history, Harris is passionate to take his ideas to the market for the state.

“Our crime rate is up,” said Harris in response to the 82 reported murders last year inside of Tulsa County, which is an all time high, the former DA feels his duty as a prosecutor affects state value. “We have to have a safe environment to grow our economy but who is going to come to an area where they don’t feel safe?”

In 2013 after his retirement, the Tulsa County honored Harris by renaming the Victim Witness Center after him. In this same center Harris plans to make his official announcement of candidacy on the 8th floor in the Tulsa County Courthouse on April 24. Prior to this public announcement, Harris has already placed everything for his campaign in order, filling for FEC and preparing Facebook and web pages.

“No matter what happens, I’ll never go negative, if I cant win this race in the marketplace of ideas about what I stand for then God’s got a different plan,” said Harris.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Oklahoma House pays tribute to Rep. Brumbaugh

This morning, the Oklahoma House of Representatives paid tribute to State Rep. David Brumbaugh, who unexpectedly passed away Saturday evening. Session began with a moment of silence, State Reps. George Faught and Mike Ritze spoke about Brumbaugh's impact and legacy, and members closed with the singing of Amazing Grace.



Brumbaugh's body will lie in repose at the State Capitol on Thursday, from 10am to 2pm. Visitation with the family will be from 6pm to 8pm at Floral Haven Funeral Home in Broken Arrow. The funeral is set for 1pm Saturday at Tulsa Bible Church in Tulsa, with a graveside service to follow.

Brumbaugh was the Majority Caucus Chairman, and represented House District 76. Sometime in the next 30 days, Governor Fallin will announce the scheduling of a special election to elect a replacement to fill the remainder of his legislative term.

Music Monday: He Is Alive

This week's Music Monday is He Is Alive, a choir piece by Byron Foxx (arranged by Glenn Christianson). Our church choir sang this song yesterday.

Enjoy!



Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

State Rep. David Brumbaugh has passed away

'Oklahoma Hello': McAlester Ammo Plant sends greetings to ISIS




















The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (AKA Mother Of All Bombs) recently dropped on an ISIS position in Afghanistan was made in McAlester at the Army Ammunition Plant. It appears that 94 ISIS fighters were neutralized in the strike. It now carries the distinction of being the most powerful conventional/non-nuclear bomb ever dropped in combat.

How's that for an 'Oklahoma Hello'?

IT'S OFFICIAL: Mullin files for 2018, breaking term limits pledge

After hinting during his last campaign that he would break his term limits pledge in 2018, Markwayne Mullin has officially filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, declaring his candidacy for a fourth term in Congress.

Mullin's Statement of Candidacy was filed on March 2nd, a day after the Federal Election Commission sent a warning to his campaign that it had accepted contributions and made expenditures in support of a 2018 election without filing official candidacy for the 2018 cycle.



Mullin has made national headlines this week after telling town hall attendees that it is "bullcrap" to say constituents pay his congressional salary. While attempting to do damage control over Mullin's comments, his spokesperson said that Mullin's "aspiration is to be a career legislator" - a statement that makes more sense considering Mullin intends to break his term-limits pledge.

It is a well-established and documented fact that Mullin made a very public term-limits pledge in 2011 when he first started his campaign for Congress. Mullin has not issued any explanation or reasoning to date on why he would break his term limits pledge and seek a fourth term. Instead, he's repeatedly dismissed and mocked those who questioned whether he would break his pledge.

This leaves no doubt - Mullin's word isn't worth the paper it's written on. Oklahoma deserves better than politicians who lack honesty and character.

Friday, April 14, 2017

So much for Term Limits? Mullin aspires "to be a career legislator"


Congressman Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma's 2nd District has been in hot water over the past week for comments he made at a recent town hall in Jay, saying gems like...
“You say you pay for me to do this. Bullcrap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.”
and 
“I’m just saying this is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make my living.”
and 
“I’m paying more taxes inside my company and personally than I’ll ever receive from Congress.”
His comments have been major national news, with stories running on the Drudge Report, TheBlaze, The Washington Times, TheHill, Politico, FoxNews, Conservative Review, and many other publications and news sites.

A spokesperson for Mullin told the Tulsa World, “The congressman reiterates in the video that his work as the representative of the Second District of Oklahoma is a service. His aspiration is to be a career legislator and not a career politician. He is not, nor does he ever aspire to be, a career politician. His priority will always be to serve his constituents to the best of his ability.” [emphasis mine]

Let's remember that Mullin campaigned in 2012 on a pledge to serve no more than three two-year terms (six years) in office. In an August 1, 2011, article from the AP, Mullin told reporter Sean Murphy, "I don't want to be up there (in Washington) and become part of the problem. If we can't accomplish anything in six years, it's a waste of time anyway." Sounds like that's not the case anymore, at least according to his spokesperson.

In 2016, US Term Limits, the leading advocacy organization and the group with the pledge Mullin signed, slammed Mullin for failing to follow through on his commitment to co-sponsor term limits legislation, as well as his public hedging on keeping his pledge in 2018.

Tulsa Beacon: Stopping abortion is not ‘silly’; Yen needs to be replaced


Stopping abortion is not ‘silly’

State Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, thinks a law protecting unborn babies is “silly” and not worth consideration by the Oklahoma Legislature.

Yen, who says he is “pro-life” but he really isn’t, wouldn’t matter much except that he is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. As chairman, he is in a powerful position to kill pro-life legislation.

Yen just killed House Bill 1549, the “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2017,” which would ban abortion for unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome or other genetic disorders.

The bill passed the House by a 67-16 vote but Yen won’t send it to a floor vote in the Senate.

For 100 years, liberal Democrat senators blocked similar legislation. Now Yen, who is a registered Republican, is a puppet of pro-abortion Republicans, chamber of commerce minions and liberal Democrats.

Yen says he is a Catholic, yet he is ignoring his own church by facilitating the death of unborn children. And Yen is essentially denouncing the oath he took as a doctor to “do no harm.”

It is tragic when any child is born with a handicap but many families with a child with Down syndrome will tell you that those children are a unique blessing. They certainly don’t deserve to be destroyed before they are born.

Abortion an unborn baby with Down syndrome is one step away from legalizing infanticide. It is devaluation of human life.

Abortion is the American Holocaust, with almost 60 million unborn babies killed in their mother’s wombs.

It’s time for Republican leaders to stand up and be counted and refute those in the GOP who claim to defend the unborn and yet cater to the pro-abortion crowd.

Yen is completely out of touch with Oklahoma’s values and needs to be replaced.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lamb to keynote Muskogee GOP dinner on Friday, April 21st

From the Muskogee County Republican Party:
Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb will be the guest speaker, and several area students will be given $500 college scholarships. In the past decade, the Muskogee County GOP has awarded scholarships to over 30 local students.

For more information, to become a sponsor, or to purchase advance tickets, call 918-869-8930 or email MuskogeeRepublicans@gmail.com.

Private sector saves State Science Fair

Dr. James O. Young of Ardmore, OK
Amid continued budget issues, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced earlier this week that the education department would not be allocating the $50,000 needed to hold this year's Oklahoma State Science and Engineering Fair.

Hofmeister explained to KFOR: “It was due to the budget cuts we had last year. There was a loss of $38 million to that fund and that line item really required deep cuts and decisions.”

However, according to a press release from State Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore), it looks like the private sector has rescued the science fair.

OKLAHOMA CITY – When James Young from Ardmore read that the State Science Fair was being cut from the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s budget this year, he decided to do something about it.

The constituent from state Rep. Pat Ownbey’s district called his representative to find out where he could send a check to save the event, which is held annually at East Central University in Ada.

“I thought this was just not right,” said Young. “I happened to have enough money to help. I may not be able to fix everything, but I can fix one thing.”

Young said his check for $50,000 is already in the mail, earmarked for the State Science Fair.

“It is the generosity of spirit of individuals like Mr. Young that make Oklahoma such a great place to work and live,” said Ownbey, R-Ardmore. “He saw a problem and instead of complaining, he decided he personally could do something to help. I am humbled by his kindness.”

Ownbey worked with the Oklahoma State Department of Education to find out where Young’s contribution could be sent and to ensure it would be used to hold the state’s science fair.

The department said that funding for the science fair was eliminated last year as part of $38.2 million in cuts to the Public School Activities Fund.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that over the past 10 years, growth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs was three times greater than non-STEM jobs, and that trend is expected to continue.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister praised Young for his generous contribution.

“It is now more important than ever to provide opportunities for students to establish strong foundations in STEM. In addition to equipping them to compete in the ever-changing job market, STEM skills promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are important in all aspects of life,” Hofmeister said. “We celebrate and are incredibly grateful for the support our schoolchildren receive from within the community, and Mr. Young is a tremendous example of what a difference it makes when parents and neighbors selflessly volunteer time and resources to support public education.”

Young said he earned a science degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and taught for a number of years before going back to school to earn his DDS. He practiced dentistry in Ardmore before retiring.

“Science fairs are just as important as athletics, music or art or anything else we do in school,” Young said. “There are a lot of kids involved in science fairs who don’’ get to participate in those other activities.”

Young said he worked with students in science fairs in the past and knows what this participation can mean for them. His oldest daughter participated in the International Science Fair in the 1980s, and he witnessed what that event meant to her. That led to his gift, he said.
Perhaps this is a better outcome. Why shouldn't the private sector step up and help fund programs that will be beneficial to the future economy of the state and nation?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It’s NOT a ruse: Tax Cuts COULD be Financed by Cutting Government Waste



by Adam Kazda with Restore Accountability

In a recent opinion piece bashing the GOP’s failed attempt to fix Obamacare and its impact on plans to reform the tax code, the author confidently makes the claim that $600 billion in spending cuts could not come from government waste alone. Instead, he suggests money to offset tax cuts would have to come from entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

While Congress will need to address the shortcomings of Medicare and Social Security in the near future and there are plenty of ways to keep tax reform deficit neutral by closing tax loopholes, it is important to test this underlying claim: Is it possible to identify $600 billion in waste?

First, the largest discretionary budget item is defense, where a lack of accountable spending is weakening our ability to protect the nation.

Unable to pass an audit for over two decades, wasteful spending at the Pentagon has spun out-of-control. The American public should know where about $0.20 of every dollar they pay in taxes goes, and Congress should require the Department of Defense to submit one ASAP. Some reports suggest that by just auditing the Pentagon, it would realize savings of over $25 billion through improved financial management.

Furthermore, the Defense Business Board (DBB) recently identified a “clear path to saving over $125 billion in the next five years,” at the Pentagon. According to the Washington Post, “The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.”

Another relatively easy reform are the positions within the Pentagon that include support, supply, transportation, communications, morale, welfare, and recreation support. Currently, about 400,000 active duty service members serve in these types of commercial roles, costing taxpayers $54 billion every year. The DBB calls this a “poor use of our most expensive personnel – active duty military.” If just one-third of active duty military in commercial roles were replaced with civilians, it would save $53 billion over ten years.

Finally, non-military research and development that has little or nothing to do with national defense now totals $6 billion. Some would say non-military research should be done elsewhere. Refreshingly efficient!

If you thought the Department of Defense was uniquely inefficient you would be wrong. In fact, most of the federal government cannot figure out who gets paid and who does not!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Jones offers his solutions for state budget woes


State Auditor Offers Sensible Budget Solutions

Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones is proposing lawmakers consider a sensible and reasonable approach to addressing the state’s budget woes.

“We need to correct a taxing inequity while stabilizing revenue streams,” Jones said. “This proposal makes sense, it helps reduce some of the uncertainty the legislature faces each year, and it should even be sufficient to fund the teacher pay raise.”

Jones is recommending changing the gas production tax to 5% across the board, capping the individual income tax at 5%, implementing a moratorium on tax credits, and implementing a 5% tax on wind generation.

“Our residents and taxpayers need both stability and confidence when it comes to generating and spending state funds,” Jones said. “This plan sets forth that stability necessary for lawmakers to engage in long-term planning instead of crisis budgeting. The plan also ensures a level of confidence by being able to estimate, beyond just a wild guess, the amount of revenues the state will collect.”

Under Jones’ plan, the unknown that surrounds both the number and the amount of tax credits awarded in this state will be eliminated. In addition to the moratorium, Jones is calling for each and every tax credit to undergo a legitimacy review to ensure each is worthy of taxpayer dollars. If, after the moratorium sunsets, it is decided worthy of renewing the credit, then that renewal process will be completely transparent.

“No more secret deals or lack of disclosure,” Jones said. “If you want to accept tax dollars from Oklahomans, then Oklahomans deserve to know the details.

Jones also wants to remove the variables attached to the gross production tax. Instead of 2% for the first 3 years and 7% afterwards, it will be a flat 5% across the board.

And last, Oklahomans have invested millions for the promotion of wind energy. It’s time Oklahomans get something back for their investment. He is proposing a 5% tax on the production of energy from wind.

Jones noted that he will be sharing these revenue proposals with legislative leaders working on next year’s budget and is hopeful they’ll take these ideas to heart.

“We’ve been in a position for too long of dealing only with the crisis in front of us and not looking to the future with any long-range plan,” Jones said. “If we introduce a strong measure of stability in expected revenues then we’ll be confident that government services will be delivered without severe budget cuts or revenue failures.”

Music Monday: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep

This week's Music Monday is a three-song section from George Frideric Handel's magnum opus oratorio Messiah: 24. Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs, 25. And With His Stripes We Are Healed, 26. All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray.

The lyrics come from Isaiah 53's great prophecy of the suffering Christ, quoting from verses 4-6: "(4a) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows... (5) He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with His stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Enjoy!



Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lamb takes first step in running for Governor, files new committee



Oklahomans For Lamb, 2018, Files Statement of Organization

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, April 7, 2017 – Oklahomans for Lamb, 2018, the campaign committee of Republican Todd Lamb, has filed a ‘Statement of Organization’ with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission for the lieutenant governor’s possible campaign for Oklahoma governor in 2018.  Lamb, an Enid native, was elected lieutenant governor in 2010 and reelected in 2014, carrying all 77 counties.

“I am strongly considering a run for governor in 2018, and this document allows me to initiate the process of establishing a campaign organization of Oklahomans from all corners of the state,” Lamb said. “Since being elected lieutenant governor in 2010 I have visited each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties on an annual basis, listening and talking to Oklahomans regarding issues of importance to them and our great state.  I am extremely optimistic about Oklahoma’s future, and believe our best days lie ahead.”

Larry Nichols, former chief executive officer of Devon Energy, serves as chairman of Oklahomans for Lamb, 2018.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Lamb officially in for 2018 Governor's race

Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb changed his website and social media today to reflect his candidacy for Governor in 2018.

Long assumed to be planning a run, it looks like he's officially in the race for the GOP nomination.
Other Republicans considering gubernatorial runs are State Auditor Gary Jones and Tulsa attorney and 2002 independent gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

OCPA's England: Was It Legal to Drain Oklahoma’s Rainy Day Fund?

Trent England - OCPA Vice President for Strategic Initiatives

Gov. Mary Fallin’s administration has drained Oklahoma’s Constitutional Reserve Fund, often called the Rainy Day Fund. Executive branch officials spent all $240 million from the Fund to pay the state’s monthly bills rather than declare a larger or additional revenue shortfall. Whether or not this was good budget policy, was it legal?

Can the executive branch spend money from the Constitutional Reserve Fund at will, so long as they promise to repay those funds before the end of the fiscal year? Here is a look at the law.

Oklahoma’s Constitutional Reserve Fund is established and governed by the Oklahoma Constitution, section 23 of Article 10. The section creates the framework for the state’s budget process and begins as follows:
The state shall never create or authorize the creation of any debt or obligation, or fund or pay any deficit, against the state, or any department, institution or agency thereof, regardless of its form or the source of money from which it is to be paid, except as may be provided in this section and in Sections 24 and 25 of Article X of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma.

To ensure a balanced annual budget, pursuant to the limitations contained in the foregoing, procedures are herewith established as follows:

[Sub-sections 1, 2, and 3 are about revenue forecasts.]

4. Surplus funds or monies shall be any amount accruing to the General Revenue Fund of the State of Oklahoma over and above the itemized estimate made by the State Board of Equalization.

5. All such surplus funds or monies shall be placed in a Constitutional Reserve Fund by the State Treasurer until such time that the amount of said Fund equals fifteen percent (15%) of the General Revenue Fund certification for the preceding fiscal year. Appropriations made from said Fund shall be considered special appropriations.

The Oklahoma Constitution then describes how the fund can be used (bold and italics added):
6. a. Up to three-eighths (3/8) of the balance at the beginning of the current fiscal year in the Constitutional Reserve Fund may be appropriated for the forthcoming fiscal year, when the certification by the State Board of Equalization for said forthcoming fiscal year General Revenue Fund is less than that of the current fiscal year certification. In no event shall the amount of monies appropriated from the Constitutional Reserve Fund be in excess of the difference between the two said certifications.

[The rest of sub-section 6 creates a manufacturing incentive program, which up to $10 million of reserve funds can be spent on under certain limited circumstances.]

7. Up to three-eighths (3/8) of the balance at the beginning of the current fiscal year in the Constitutional Reserve Fund may be appropriated for the current fiscal year if the State Board of Equalization determines that a revenue failure has occurred with respect to the General Revenue Fund of the State Treasury. In no event shall the amount of monies appropriated from the Constitutional Reserve Fund pursuant to this paragraph be in excess of the amount of the projected revenue failure in the General Revenue Fund, which total amount shall be computed by the State Board of Equalization, for the entire fiscal year. Monies appropriated to any state governmental entity from the Constitutional Reserve Fund pursuant to this paragraph may only be made in order to ensure that the monies actually received by the entity for the then current fiscal year are equal to or less than, but not in excess of, the total appropriation amount for such entity in effect at the beginning of the then current fiscal year.

8. Up to one-quarter (1/4) of the balance at the beginning of the current fiscal year in the Constitutional Reserve Fund may be appropriated, upon a declaration by the Governor that emergency conditions exist, with concurrence of the Legislature by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the House of Representatives and Senate for the appropriation; or said one-quarter (1/4) could be appropriated upon a joint declaration of emergency conditions by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, with a concurrence of a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the House of Representatives and Senate.

And that is all. Those are the only three ways to access Oklahoma’s Constitutional Reserve Fund. In each case, an appropriation is required--in other words, a piece of legislation explicitly authorizing expenditure of monies from the Fund. In each case, that appropriation can only be made if certain conditions are met. This is what makes the fund a Reserve Fund. The fact that all this is spelled out in the Constitution is what makes it the Constitutional Reserve Fund.

The Constitutional Reserve Fund is not just another state bank account. Staff in the Governor’s office point to a statute that empowers them to shift funds among the state’s “treasury funds” to pay the state’s monthly bills. But statutes trump constitutional provisions exactly never.

What about the claim that they simply borrowed the money and plan, or at least hope, to put it back? First, there is simply no express or implied power to do that in any of the constitutional provisions above. Second, the Constitution does actually mention--and limit--the use of debt to pay the state’s bills. The final sub-section of section 23 of Article 10 anticipates revenue shortfalls and says:
10. The Legislature shall provide a method whereby appropriations shall be divided and set up on a monthly, quarterly or semiannual basis within each fiscal year to prevent obligations being incurred in excess of the revenue to be collected, and notwithstanding other provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature shall provide that all appropriations shall be reduced to bring them within revenues actually collected, but all such reductions shall apply to each department, institution, board, commission or special appropriation made by the State Legislature in the ratio that its total appropriation for that fiscal year bears to the total of all appropriations from that fund for that fiscal year; provided, however, that the Governor shall have discretion to issue deficiency certificates to the State Treasurer for the benefit of any department, institution or agency of the state, if the amount of such deficiency certificates be within the limit of the current appropriation for that department, institution or agency, whereupon the State Treasurer shall issue warrants to the extent of such certificates for the payment of such claims as may be authorized by the Governor, and such warrants shall become a part of the public debt and shall be paid out of any money appropriated by the Legislature and made lawfully available therefor; provided further, that in no event shall said deficiency certificates exceed in the aggregate the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) in any fiscal year.

It is a basic legal principle that such explicit provisions as are found throughout Article 10, section 23, of the Oklahoma Constitution exclude any other claims to power (expressio unius est exclusio alterius). And if the Governor has no constitutional authority to take funds from the Constitutional Reserve Fund in the way she did, simply calling the taking of funds a “loan” does not cure or obscure the violation.

The Governor has also sidestepped the legislative branch. While the Constitution does establish a way, with large supermajorities, for the legislature to tap the Constitutional Reserve Fund without the Governor’s approval, it does not authorize any method for the Governor to access the fund without the legislature. The Governor’s actions here challenge the fundamental idea of the separation of powers, which is specifically described in Article 4, section 1, of the Oklahoma Constitution:
The powers of the government of the State of Oklahoma shall be divided into three separate departments: The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial; and except as provided in this Constitution, the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial departments of government shall be separate and distinct, and neither shall exercise the powers properly belonging to either of the others.

In addition to serving as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Trent England hosts a radio program, The Trent England Show, from 7-9 a.m. every weekday on Oklahoma’s AM 1640, “The Eagle.” Trent earned a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Holt raises $142k in first month of OKC mayoral campaign


David Holt OKC Mayoral Campaign Tops $142,000 in 1st Month

With the election now ten months away, the campaign to elect David Holt the next Mayor of Oklahoma City announced today that it raised $142,841 in the first month since Holt’s announcement.    The geographically diverse support included donations from 36 different zip codes across the Oklahoma City metro.

The amount of $142,841 is what the campaign had received as of Friday, March 31st.   The end of March was the end of a quarter, meaning that in the coming weeks, as required by state law, the campaign will publicly file a detailed report of its fundraising through March 31st.   Still in its early stages, the campaign has not yet held a fundraising event or distributed a fundraising letter.

“We are so grateful for the support we have received in these early weeks,” said David Holt.   “The volunteer sign-ups, the endorsements, and the donations have overwhelmed us.   Specifically in regards to donations, we know that it will take major financial resources to get our optimistic message out to the people of Oklahoma City, and though we recognize we have a long way to go, we feel blessed by the support we have already received.   The donations have come from people from all walks of life and from all across Oklahoma City.  They all have in common that they want to see Oklahoma City’s renaissance continue.”

The campaign to elect David Holt the next Mayor of Oklahoma City kicked off with Holt’s announcement video on February 27th.   That was followed 48 hours later by the announcement of a first wave of 450 endorsements.   Both the video and the endorsement list can be viewed at holtformayor.com.

To donate, sign up to volunteer, receive a yard sign, or receive e-mail updates, visit holtformayor.com.   On social media, “like” Facebook.com/holtformayor or follow David on Twitter @davidfholt.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Music Monday: Here Comes Carolina

Since my wife is from North Carolina, and the UNC men's basketball team is playing in the national championship this evening, this week's Music Monday is Here Comes Carolina, one of the University of North Carolina's fight songs. UNC played in the national championship last year, too; here's the link for that Music Monday with two other UNC fight songs.

Enjoy!



Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Republican Darin Chambers to run in HD46 Special Election


Republican Darin Chambers Enters Special Election for HD-46
  
Showcasing his success in both business and education, Conservative Republican Darin Chambers announces his candidacy for the House District 46 Special Election.  Chambers is an educator, businessman and Navy veteran who served the country as a Nuclear Submarine Officer.

"My service in the Navy taught me effective leadership requires integrity," says Darin Chambers.  "Only a leader with a vision that is well communicated which demonstrates principles, expertise and proven value, can gain the trust required to move a team forward.  That's the type of leadership I plan to bring the Oklahoma legislature.  We have serious problems that will only be solved by serious leaders who have a fiscally proven record."

Chambers graduated from OU with an Electrical Engineering Degree in 1991, and earned his MBA from UCLA in 1999.  As a general manager for a global services firm, Chambers worked with top executives to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity.

"I'm proud of my success at controlling costs, reducing waste and increasing efficiency for Fortune 500 companies with projects across Oklahoma, the United States, Europe and Asia," Chambers says. "I know what it takes to reverse an economic decline and that is exactly what the State of Oklahoma needs right now.  We have an urgent economic crisis that only a demonstrated record of experience can be trusted to deliver."

Selling his portion of a successful startup allowed Darin the freedom to pursue education goals and mentorship opportunities, to inspire the next generation to love STEM learning as much as he does. Darin Chambers has volunteered teaching robotics and other classes to Norman junior high school students, and as he finalizes his own Ph.D. at OU, also serves as a lecturer and Capstone Coordinator for Engineering students, working with businesses to place students in internships around the state and prepare for successful careers.

Darin Chambers and his wife, Dianne, have a joyful home in Norman, with two daughters Sydney and McKenna, two foster children and family dog Lucy. Dianne is an OBGYN Physician serving Norman and the surrounding communities, and the family attends St. Mark's Catholic Church.

The House District 46 special primary election is July 11th and the general election will be September 12th.

For more information on Darin Chambers and his practical solutions for Oklahoma’s success, please visit his Facebook page at 'Darin Chambers for State Representative District 46' or www.ChambersforStateRep.com.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Deputy Auditor Cindy Byrd to run for State Auditor



At the 2nd Congressional District GOP meeting in Muskogee this morning, State Auditor Gary Jones said that Deputy State Auditor Cindy Byrd will be running for his position in 2018.

Here's some information on Byrd, from the State Auditor's website:
Cindy Byrd, CPA is Deputy State Auditor for Local Government Services. Cindy graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1997, and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 2003. Cindy has 17 years of local governmental auditing experience which includes county audits, district attorney audits, and emergency medical services district audits.
Jones is term limited, and currently exploring his political future.