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18 Jan
0

RELEASE: Oklahoma Democratic Party: Scott Pruitt Chief Law Evader

For Immediate Release
January 18, 2017

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
405-427-3366

Oklahoma Democratic Party: Scott Pruitt Chief Law Evader

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s Attorney General is supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer, and yet when it comes to disclosing how he has managed taxpayer money, Scott Pruitt is the chief law evader.

The October report of State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones states that the Attorney General’s office “internal controls do not provide reasonable assurance that revenues or inventory were accurately reported in the accounting records.” Report, p. 3.
The State Auditor says:

It appears management has chosen not to compel with GAO standards requiring annual inventory counts nor the Oklahoma Administrative Rules requiring the annual reporting of current inventory of tangible assets.
Without periodic reports, inventory may be misstated or misappropriated without detection.

Report, p. 6.
Not disclosed in the Auditor’s report, but recently discovered, is the Attorney General’s failure to report the money spent on hiring outside counsel for litigation. This reform measure known as a 20i report is designed to prevent waste and favoritism in legal fees. It requires explanations not only for outside legal costs but of the reasons for spending taxpayer money when there are already attorneys on staff.

This isn’t a matter of political philosophy, but rather one of basic accountability.
The failure of the Attorney General to follow the laws he was sworn to uphold is unacceptable in any circumstance, but here serious ethical questions are raised.

Pruitt has filed 14 lawsuits challenging federal environment regulations, and in 13 of those cases, he was joined with those that had contributed money to Mr. Pruitt or Pruitt affiliated political campaign committees. [New York Times, 11/14/16]. According to the New York Times, Pruitt even took tens of thousands of dollars from companies that Oklahoma was suing after he became Attorney General and after he took control of those suits. [New York Times, 11/14/16].

Before Scott Pruitt is handed control of billions of taxpayer dollars at the Environmental Protection Agency, taxpayers in Oklahoma and across the country should know how he has handled their money at the state level. Scott Pruitt- how much of our tax dollars have you spent on outside lawfirms? Scott Pruitt- why haven’t you followed the reporting laws? Scott Pruitt- why didn’t you disqualify yourself from cases involving political contributors?

Scott Pruitt has yet to answer 50 questions submitted by the FBI as part of its required vetting process. It’s time for Scott Pruitt to start following the law and stop obstructing the law.

Mark Hammons, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair

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The mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is to represent working people in Oklahoma and the best way to accomplish that is to elect Democrats to all areas of government. Oklahoma Democrats are progressive and sensible. We are optimistic about the future, and we are determined to see Oklahoma’s traditional values upheld. More information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party can be found at www.okdemocrats.org or by calling (405) 427-3366.

17 Jan
1

Another House Democrat Refuses to Accept Limitations Demanded by GOP Chairman of Investigation Panel

OKLAHOMA CITY (17 January 2017) – The second of three Democrats appointed to the Special Investigation Committee exploring sexual harassment claims against two incumbent House members announced he will not attend today’s closed-door meeting of the panel.

Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, informed Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette, the panel’s chairman, that he would be absent “due to the requirement of signing a non-disclosure agreement.”

The fact that only current House members will be investigated by the panel, coupled with “the non-ability to have a minority report,” are of “great concern to me,” Kouplen explained. “I served on a previous investigation with basically the same rules and non-disclosure agreement, and did not believe it provided the transparency that was expected or deserved.”

Since the Republican majority “controls all aspects involved in this investigation, including the HR Department, I find it hard to imagine there will not be disagreements on some issues,” Kouplen wrote in a letter to Cockroft. “Yet without majority agreement, a different viewpoint will be silenced.”

Rep. David Perryman, D-Chickasha, announced last week that he would not sign the confidentiality agreement demanded by Cockroft. Perryman branded it a “gag order” and said it “undermines the independence that I have as a legislator.”

-30-

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008135227880

MIKE W. RAY
Media Director, Democratic Caucus
Oklahoma House of Representatives
(405) 962-7819 office
(405) 245-4411 mobile

12 Jan
0

DNC Statement on GOP’s Cowardly Dead-Of-Night Vote to Take Away Americans’ Healthcare

For Immediate Release
January 12, 2017
Contact: DNC Press – 202-863-8148

DNC Statement on GOP’s Cowardly Dead-Of-Night Vote to Take Away Americans’ Healthcare

DNC Deputy Communications Director Eric Walker released the following statement on the GOP’s cowardly 1:00 a.m. vote to take Americans’ health care away:

“The GOP’s cowardly middle-of-the-night attack on Americans’ health care is both politically foolish and betrays the 100-year struggle by presidents of both parties to help every American access affordable health care.

“The vast majority of Americans want the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act to be kept, tweaked, or expanded. Only one in four Americans wants the law repealed. Most Americans who have received care through the Affordable Care Act live in Republican-led districts, meaning that Republicans are stabbing their own voters in the back with this middle-of-the-night repeal vote.

“If Republicans in Congress get their way, as many as thirty million Americans are set to lose access to affordable health care. Americans with pre-existing conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes could lose coverage and become uninsurable. The Affordable Care Act is literally the difference between living and dying for tens of thousands of Americans – without this insurance, 36,000 people a year could die before their time.

The Republican Party will regret the day they tried to take away Americans’ health care in the dead of night.”

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11 Jan
0

DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile Issues Statement Trump Relationship with Russia

DNC Chair Statement on Trump’s Troubling Statements on his Relationship with the Russian Government

WASHINGTON – DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile issued the following statement:

“At his first press conference in 168 days, Donald Trump finally admitted that Russia hacked American political targets. After refusing to answer a question at the press conference about whether his campaign had any contacts with Russian officials, Trump reportedly told a reporter that there was no contact between anyone on his campaign and the Russian government – despite numerous reports to the contrary. Even more troublingly, in response to a question asking whether he would acknowledge the Intelligence Community’s conclusion that he was Russia’s preferred candidate, Trump also said it was a good thing that murderous dictator Vladimir Putin got the American President he wanted.

“We need a thorough, independent, and bipartisan investigation into the Russian attacks immediately. As part of that investigation, the commission must investigate President-elect Trump’s personal and financial ties to Russia, ties between his aides and Russia, and the alleged existence of compromising material obtained by Russia that could be used to blackmail him. Our national security is far too important to let Mr. Trump continue dodging these critical questions.”

Rough transcript below:

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President-elect. On that intelligence report, the second part of their conclusion was that Vladimir Putin ordered it because he aspired to help you in the election. Do you accept that part of the finding and will you undo what president Obama did to punish the Russians for this or will you keep it if place?

Trump: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.

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11 Jan
0

Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt Failed to File Reports for Outside Legal Contracts

According to the Frontier, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has not filed legally required reports since 2012, listing all the attorneys paid for outside legal services in numerous lawsuits.

“Though state law requires all agencies to report what they spend each year to hire outside attorneys, Attorney General Scott Pruitt has failed to follow that law since 2012, omitting his agency from reports he must compile, an investigation by The Frontier has found.

“Pruitt has engaged in years of complex litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency — which President-elect Donald Trump has nominated him to lead — as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies. Pruitt is awaiting a confirmation hearing, which is scheduled for Jan. 18 before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee.

“Mark Hammons, an Oklahoma City attorney and chairman of the state Democratic Party, said he was troubled that Pruitt has not disclosed how the state funded its ongoing lawsuits against the EPA.”

Read more of The Frontier’s Report…
By Ziva Brannstetter Jan. 11, 2017