The Legislative Black Caucus is angry with Governor Fallin over the presentation of cowboy boots to 0utspoken sports commentator Charles Barkley, in Oklahoma City for tonight’s Thunder-Spurs playoff game.
It is Barkely’s first visit to the state since he made numerous derogatory remarks about Oklahoma in TNT broadcasts five years ago.
At halftime in the game, Barkley and other commentators said the boots he was wearing came from Fallin and the Black Caucus.
Rep. Mike Shelton of the Black Caucus fired off a stern email today; a copy was obtained by The McCarville Report:
Members, as you know, there has been much conversation about the Charles Barkley boot presentation which originated with and was initiated by the Black Caucus.
Somewhere in the effort to get with the Barkley folks and rumors around the Capitol, the Governor’s office has attempted to hijack what was supposed to be a goodwill effort of the State of Oklahoma by the Black Caucus to Charles Barkley regarding his comments that Black folks don’t wear boots in Oklahoma.
After this idea had been conceived by the Black Caucus, and we reached out, the Governor’s office reached out as well. She then attempted to negotiate for the Black Caucus without our permission how the presentation was going to happen.
She then told the TNT television station that she would be presenting him the boots. I told them no, because it was a Black Caucus effort. Her office set up the presentation opportunity and TNT allegedly told the Governor’s office she had 8 spots. The Governor would use from that 8 spots, 4 for her and her husband; 2 for her security guards; the boot maker would get 2 spots; and the Black Caucus would get 2 spots. I told the Governor’s office that was unacceptable and asked them to work on getting more spots because the Black Caucus needed more than 2.
On last night, we called TNT to try and get the Black Caucus more spots and found out that the Governor’s office lied and actually got 10 spots. She reserved the extra 2 spots for a staff person and someone on her security staff. I contacted the Governor’s office and advised them that we were aware that they had not been completely truthful about the number of spots given. Ultimately, this goodwill effort on our part has been absolutely hijacked and the Governor’s office has diminished any role of the Black Caucus. I am informing the Governor’s office that we will not participate and do no appreciate her blatant disregard for the Black Caucus. (I will do it tactfully). Our choosing not to participate will not result in any cost to the Black Caucus. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me on my cell, 405-923-9880.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz responded to the allegations on her behalf in an email to The McCarville Report:
“Last week, the governor reached out to Charles Barkley through representatives at TNT to invite him to tour Oklahoma City with her and First Gentleman Wade Christensen and to visit the governor’s mansion. Representatives from TNT responded that, while Barkley was unable to take a tour, Governor Fallin was invited to join him for the pregame show. After agreeing to be on the show, the governor decided to present Barkley with an Oklahoma gift. Knowing the Black Caucus was having custom boots made by Loveless Boots, members of the governor’s staff reached out to their membership to ask if they would like the governor to present those boots, and if caucus members would like to join the governor for their own photo op with Barkley. They indicated they would. The governor’s office was provided with a limited amount of passes for her, her press staff, security, Black Caucus members, and employees from Loveless Boots. The governor worked in good faith to get as many passes as she could, and offered four to the Black Caucus. Our office has been informed that they were not pleased with that number. Regardless, the governor made every attempt to include them in this presentation and to give them credit for their work. She made no attempt to ‘hijack’ their presentation and looks forward to working with them in the future.”
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
“If you’re a Republican,” writes Andrew Spiropoulos, OCPA’s Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow, “there’s no spinning the results of this legislative session: It was an embarrassing debacle.
“Everyone has their favorite blunder, but a short list of issues our political leaders managed to bungle include tax reform, water policy, workers’ compensation reform, and the prudent finance of capital projects including the necessary reconstruction of the crumbling edifice in which they allegedly work. They couldn’t work up the gumption to pass straightforward, common-sense reforms like moving school board elections to a time when ordinary citizens might vote and even managed to threaten to foul up policies they had gotten right in the past such as the overdue implementation of high-school competency exams.”
Worse yet, I would add, is that our political leaders – already the biggest spenders in state history – managed to spend even more. As my colleague Jonathan Small told The Wall Street Journal, “We didn’t get a tax cut because the Republicans decided they’d rather spend the money.”
Indeed, they were so committed to spending the money that they were even willing to raise taxes on home-owning middle-class parents who tithe. Fortunately, that proposal failed.
Where do we go from here? Spiropoulos correctly says we should “resolve to come back next session and, as for as many sessions as necessary, demand the reforms that the politicians could not deliver. We will not rest until our tax code is reformed, spending priorities reset, and the iron grip of the trial lawyers and education bureaucracy loosened from our throats. If we didn’t get what we wanted this year, next time around let’s ask for twice as much.”
Oklahoma state lawmakers are continuing to rob fee revenue dedicated for regulatory services of the Insurance Department and the Secretary of State.
From Markwayne Mullin
UPDATE: Markwayne Mullin said tonight he will not appear in new commercials for his plumbing company.
In the latest example of how little common sense is exercised in Washington, D.C., the Federal Election Commission punted instead of making a decision on Mullin Plumbing advertisements.
“To say that we are frustrated is an understatement. I asked the FEC for a clarification, going above and beyond to stay in compliance, and to protect my business with our more than 120 employees and their families,” said businessman Markwayne Mullin, a candidate for Congress in the 2nd District of Oklahoma.
“But the FEC did what the federal government does all too often, so instead of getting an answer, I got nothing,” said Mullin. “They’re making it as hard as possible for a businessman to run for Congress.”
Not only did the FEC decline to issue clear guidance, but they waited until the last possible minute to say anything at all.
“They waited until the last required day to consider the matter, then they delayed the decision. And today, even after a week-long delay, the FEC commissioners can’t even agree on their own rules,” said Mullin. “This is exactly what’s wrong with the federal government: unreasonable regulations, delays, inaction, burdens on businesses. This is why I’m running for Congress.
“We’ve literally seen four different opinions by the FEC lawyers. They first said Mullin Plumbing ads needed a ridiculous disclaimer, then they said the ads didn’t need a disclaimer, then we got a combination, and at the end of the day, the commissioners ended in gridlock unable to reach a decision.”
The FEC is a six-member commission and it takes four votes to get a ruling.
“While politicians can continue to be politicians as they run for higher office, business owners are punished,” said Mullin. “It’s the ultimate double standard, to suggest that politicians with all of the advantages of the political establishment can continue to do what they do, but a business owner has to scale back a business that provides a living for more than 120 employees and their families.”
Mullin Plumbing has aired its advertisements for about 10 years.
Governor Fallin today accepted the resignations of Commissioners Steven Dow and Anne Roberts of the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services.
The resignations were offered after a letter by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission identified a conflict of interest concerning Dow’s simultaneous service as both a DHS commissioner and chief executive officer of the Community Action Project, a charitable corporation which operates daycare and child education facilities. Roberts, although not named in the Ethics Commission letter, resigned to address a potential conflict between her service as a commissioner and her employment with Integris Heath.
Governor Fallin said she valued the service of both Dow and Roberts.
“Both Steven Dow and Anne Roberts are dedicated public servants who have poured countless hours into their roles at the Department of Human Services.” Fallin said. “Their work on the Pinnacle Plan, for example, will help to ensure that a new wave of reforms can be implemented at DHS that better care for children in state custody. Both have also been essential in the search for a new director.
“My thanks go out to Steven and Anne for their years of service as well as the selflessness they continue to exhibit by their actions today.”
Governor Fallin today declared a State of Emergency for 35 Oklahoma counties due to straight line winds, hail, flooding and tornadoes that began Tuesday.
The counties included in the declaration are: Alfalfa, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Creek, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Harper, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, McClain, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pottawatomie, Stephens, Tillman, Tulsa, Washita, Woods, and Woodward.
The declaration can be amended to add additional counties if conditions warrant.
The severe storms that came through the state last night and into this morning have resulted in damage to homes, businesses and vehicles as well as numerous power outages. Damage assessments in these counties are ongoing and additional severe weather is expected for later today.
Under the Executive Order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance, should it be necessary.
CUPVF said it has contributed $10,000 total to Faught’s campaign, $5,000 each for the primary and run-off elections.
Costello said Houchen is the type of conservative Republican needed in the Legislature.
Ellis is term limited and if reelected, would have to give up the seat in 2014.
In his second try to win his party’s nomination for president, Mitt Romney clinched the Republican nomination Tuesday with victory in the Texas primary.
The Associated Press reports that Romney reached, and passed, the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination in Ron Paul’s home state. Romney got 69 percent to Paul’s 12 percent.
As one news report put it, “The former Massachusetts governor has reached the nomination milestone with a steady message of concern about the U.S. economy, a campaign organization that dwarfed those of his GOP foes and a fundraising operation second only to that of his Democratic opponent in the general election, President Barack Obama.”