[Oklahoma City, OK, February 12, 2016] This week the Oklahoma Democratic Party followed up on their efforts to uncover the cost of Mary Fallin’s trip to Paris in June 2015, and all items and persons relating to said junket. The original open records request for the information was made on June 16, 2015, more than seven months ago.
In a response provided yesterday by Michael McNutt, Fallin’s Communications Director, he said that the Oklahoma Democratic Party wants to “leapfrog others who filed open records requests before it.” This could not be further from the truth; however, we do expect that the Governor’s office provide information requested by all parties, including the Oklahoma Democratic Party in a reasonable amount of time. The Open Records Act states that “[a] public body must provide prompt, reasonable access to its records.” It is the opinion of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, on behalf of the taxpayers and constituents of Oklahoma, that seven months with no results is neither prompt nor reasonable – yet par for the course with this inept Republican administration.
“We have been more than reasonable and patient while waiting on the Governor’s office to provide the information we requested. Even in November we reached back out to her office requesting the information or at minimum a timeline of when we could expect the information to be provided. The response from her office was essentially for us to wait in line,” stated Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Mark Hammons. “The Governor’s office has a bad habit of dragging out litigation in an apparent attempt to wear down her opposition or find a loophole to avoid providing information that the taxpayers of Oklahoma have a right to know.
“We have gone well past the timeframe originally outlined to the Governor’s office in which we would seek legal relief for this situation but her office has continued to refuse to comply. The Governor and her staff left us no option other than to pursue this through the courts. The simple fact is that the Governor’s refusal to provide information requested is a bad habit and she has been subsequently sued multiple times for this same reason. It is our goal to not only uncover exactly what happened regarding her trip to Paris but also bring to light the continued incompetence of the Governor and her office in fulfilling her duties and responsibilities as executive of the State of Oklahoma.”