The McCarville Report
Archive for: July, 2017

Edmondson Raises $300K for Governor’s Bid

It’s been two months since Drew Edmondson declared he was running for governor, and he’s already amassed more than $300,000 for his campaign. According to the campaign, it has raised $300,211 through June 30.

Campaign Manager Mike Clingman said Edmondson’s successful fundraising effort shows support for Edmondson’s message and the record of success he brings to the voters.

“Voters are tired of politics as usual,” Clingman said. “We need someone who is willing to look corporate lobbyists in the eye and tell them that the people come first. Drew has shown that he’ll fight the corporate interests, and just like he did when he took on WorldCom and Big Tobacco as attorney general, he will win. That’s what we hear from people across the state, and that’s why support is so strong for Drew Edmondson’s candidacy.”

Cole: If The FAA’s Not Broke, Don’t Try To Fix It

By Congressman Tom Cole

Since 1958, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has overseen the standards and regulations of the airline industry. In that time, the magnitude and complexity of air travel has increased exponentially. Today, air travel is still one of the safest modes of transportation thanks to the training and professionalism of America’s Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).

The FAA is a federal agency, funded and overseen by Congress. As such, it is necessary to enact legislation to reauthorize the funding levels and update the policy priorities of the agency. Last year, Congress passed the reauthorization of the FAA for another year, under the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016. At that time, some in Congress advocated to privatize the FAA and replace the federal workforce with private contractors. In my opinion this was a terrible idea, and fortunately the effort was unsuccessful.

Congress has always provided key oversight of the FAA and ATC to keep our skies safe and efficient. Because of its balanced approach to regulation and operational standards, the FAA has made our skies the safest and most reliable airspace in the world. Proponents of FAA privatization want to move forward with a corporate-like entity to regulate the airline industry. However, rather than an independent regulatory body, the proposed structure of this corporate entity would allow the airline industry to control the makeup of the board of directors. Not only would this proverbial fox watch the hen house, it would also have the authority to set fees and dictate regulatory policy.

Financially, a privatized FAA would be unfair to the American taxpayer. It is simply wrong to take billions of dollars’ worth of assets purchased by federal funds and put them in the hands of private interests – a recipe for lost accountability and possible misuse of funds. Not only does this endanger the system financially, it will have policy implications that range from issues such as general resources to the operation of rural airports and contract control towers. It will also raise fees for travelers by incurring excess costs to support a monopolistic system. This has been evident in other nations like Britain and Canada, where a privatized system is in place.

The FAA plays a major role in Oklahoma’s economy. Oklahoma has over 4,700 Air Traffic Control employees at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) and various airports around the state. The transition to a privatized system could potentially damage the dedicated workforce that has sustained safe and transparent skies in Oklahoma and across the nation.

Just as our national interstate highway system benefits from federal funding and oversight, our skies benefit greatly from the FAA and the air traffic controllers who direct the traffic of our airlines and general aviation. It protects the airlines, its employees and travelers, as well as our overall national security. The FAA has worked well for our nation for many years. If it’s not broke, then don’t try to fix it.

Murphey: Pawning Freshman Lawmakers

By Rep. Jason Murphey

Much of the time and energy of this legislative session was consumed by the push to raise taxes, even if those taxes were unconstitutional.

This push was led by a group of “increase taxes at all cost” ideologues who deployed an array of tactics and strategies to convince their colleagues to raise taxes.

One such tactic utilized the deployment of the most systematic and aggressive strategy of freshman pawning that I have ever seen.

What is freshman pawning, you ask?

Freshman pawning is a particularly dastardly strategy utilized by appropriations leaders to give the newest legislators direct ownership of some of the most controversial components of appropriation leadership’s agenda.

I saw this first hand as a member of the House Appropriations Committee where I often witnessed a freshman legislator presenting a tax increase on behalf of the Appropriations Committee Chairperson.

It is a great honor for a new legislator to receive a request for help from the high ranking appropriations leaders.

They would likely make their request after a bit of flattery.

“You are doing a great job so far. We have a complicated tax policy bill and will need someone with your intellectual firepower to guide it through the process. Would you be able to present the bill on our behalf?”

How does a freshman say “no” to this request?

It takes wisdom to see through this flattery and tremendous courage to stand up to the pressure and say, “No, thank you.”

This is an effective strategy because upon acquiescing, the new legislator has officially bought into the tax increase scheme and “joined the team.”

Not only are they now supporting value-betraying tax increases, they are actively sponsoring them. They have become a key part of the team effort to “find solutions” by raising taxes.

This made them quite susceptible to voting for the other tax increases — including those that were clearly unconstitutional. After all, it’s hardly fair for the new lawmaker to ask other legislators to vote for “his” tax increase when he is unwilling to vote for theirs.

You can only imagine how much pressure is placed on new lawmakers.

You should also know that not all new legislators bought into the scheme. I had tremendous respect for those who found a way to escape being pawned.

I absolutely hated to see this aggressive policy of freshman pawning. It will haunt the legislature and the people of Oklahoma for years to come.

There were hardened, politically secure legislators who have long ago given up on enacting true oversight and implementing efficiencies; they would have happily presented the tax increase bills. There was absolutely no actual need to encumber the new lawmakers with such political toxicity.

These new lawmakers were not guilty of the sins of the veteran House members that put the state into a fiscal crunch. They had not voted for the many millions of bonds and debt, they had not greatly expanded the state’s medical welfare system, they weren’t responsible for the state’s record high spend level of nearly 19 billion dollars last year and they had not failed to reform the budget and fiscal oversight system. There was certainly no obligation on them to betray their core principles and raise taxes.

At the start of the session, many freshman legislators still believed they could hold government accountable. They wanted to find new efficiencies and cut costs. Had our appropriations officials invested as much time and energy into reforming the system as they invested into raising taxes, the new legislators would have been in near unanimous support.

Just weeks earlier, I don’t think any of these individuals would have even considered voting in favor of clearly unconstitutional tax raises — and most certainly wouldn’t have believed they would be the ones to present tax increase bills.

Now that session is over, they have a decision to make. They can come to terms with what happened to them, understand how they were used, and earn redemption next year; or, unfortunately, I’m afraid that most will give in to the all-too-human tendency of denial.

If so, they will convince themselves that there was no other way than to increase taxes, and they will consider themselves to be “enlightened” as to the true state of state government.

This new state of enlightenment leaves little ability to see and understand the true problem: the state’s tendency to spend money — spending that has resulted in a record high of nearly 19 billion dollars, legislators who are unwilling to take on the sacred cows of inappropriate and inefficient government spend, and a completely broken legislative budget process that provides lawmakers with only a modicum of oversight and no comprehensive purview of actual state spend.

Next week I will describe more of the tactics used by those who endeavored to raise your taxes.

Holt Adds to Campaign War Chest

It appears Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Senator David Holt has more than a quarter-million dollars in his campaign war chest. That’s according to the campaign which turned in its quarterly report to the Oklahoma City Clerk’s office Monday.

The Holt for Mayor Campaign said it raised $261,961 through the month of July. The majority of the money has come from more than 300 donors. Holt has yet to hold a fundraising event.

Monday’s report indicates the campaign has nearly doubled the money on hand since the last report in April.

The Oklahoma City Mayor’s election will be February 13, 2018.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Names Doye as Interim Executive Director

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau named farmer and rancher Thad Doye as its interim executive director on Monday. It comes after it was learned executive director Monia Wilke and senior vice president John Collison were no longer with the organization.

Doye is from Lawton. He has been a part of the Comanche County Young Farmers and Ranchers, serving as chairman. He started working with Oklahoma Farm Bureau in 1998 as a field service representative.

Doye is currently the crop insurance specialist for the Bureau and works with the Oklahoma Food Bank and Farming & Ranching Foundation through the Pork for Packs and Beef for Backpacks programs. He’ll continue those duties while serve as interim executive director.

“Being chosen for this position is a great honor,” Doye said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the many people in the Oklahoma Farm Bureau family.”

Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan noted Doye’s experience with Farm Bureau.

“Thad has served our organization well through various positions,” Buchanan said. “Through his many years of service, he has an intimate understanding of our 75-year-old organization. He is well suited to meet our mission of improving the lives of rural Oklahomans.”

Cole Announces August Town Hall Schedule

Congressman Tom Cole announced the following schedule of town hall meetings for the month of August:



August 15th – 12:00 Noon CST

Ada, OK

McSwain Theater

130 W Main St.

Ada, OK 74820



August 22nd – 5:30 PM CST

Norman, OK

National Weather Center; Room 1313 (David L Boren Auditorium)

120 David L Boren Blvd #2400

Norman, OK 73072



August 24th – 5:30 PM CST

Midwest City, OK

Rose State College Professional Training Center

1720 Hudiburg Drive

Midwest City, OK 73110



August 29th – 12:00 Noon CST

Lawton, OK

Great Plains Technical Center; Main Auditorium

4500 SW Lee Blvd

Lawton, OK 73505



If you have any questions regarding the upcoming town halls, please contact the Norman office at (405) 329-6500.


Pruitt Talks About Job as EPA Administrator


In a long-ranging interview with The Oklahoman’s Justin Wingerter, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt discusses his first few months at the EPA, the politics of pesticides and the idea of an honest debate on climate change.

Read The Oklahoman story here.

OCPA: OBA and Far Left Attack Pruitt

By OCPA President Jonathan Small

A liberal U.S. senator investigates a member of the Trump administration.

The storyline is uninteresting, except that the target is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and the senator’s strategy involves filing a complaint with the Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA). Add in an Oklahoma higher education employee and you’ve got one intriguing story.

The Senator is Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, whose liberal record is solid and whose relationship with the truth is shaky. The PolitiFact website notes him making false statements about everything from entitlement reforms to budget policy and environmental regulation. He once defended crony capitalism for companies like now-bankrupt Solyndra, claiming it would end reliance on foreign oil, even though oil is used to generate about a whopping one percent of our nation’s electricity.

Sen. Whitehouse claims Pruitt did not answer enough questions during his confirmation process. This is absurd because Pruitt answered more than 1,000 written questions and another 206 oral questions during his hearing. For comparison, the last EPA Administrator nominee faced just 133 written questions and only 69 more at her confirmation hearing. In fact, no nominee for this position has ever faced anything like the volume of questions that Pruitt was asked—and answered—earlier this year.

Despite all this, Whitehouse claims Pruitt was “evasive,” that he was “stonewalling,” and that some of the answers were insufficiently clear.

The Oklahoma higher education employee in this tale is law professor Kristen van de Biezenbos of the University of Oklahoma, who has a past association with Whitehouse and donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Joining her is a group called the Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson-based radical environmental group that seems to exist primarily to file lawsuits. Kristen van de Biezenbos and company have now filed an ethics complaint with the Oklahoma Bar Association demanding that Pruitt be disbarred or otherwise punished.

Why would these liberals look to a private state lawyers’ group to go after a member of the President’s cabinet? Two reasons: the Oklahoma Bar Association is a private group that possesses government power, and it has a track record of taking far-left political stances.

In Oklahoma, old state laws give the bar association real power. It gets to license lawyers and to manage part of the process of lawyer discipline. It also gets a guaranteed say in who does and does not get to be an Oklahoma appellate judge. This is a lot of power for a private group that takes political positions.

What kind of positions? Just last December, Oklahoma Bar Association President Garvin Isaacs was interviewed by The New Yorker about the incoming Trump Administration. His measured opinion: “We are in danger. The whole country is in danger. Our kids are in danger.”

Actually, Isaacs was not talking just about the Trump Administration, but about … Scott Pruitt’s nomination to be Administrator of the EPA. Isaacs, of course, is entitled to his opinion, but it’s no wonder a group of liberals believe the Oklahoma Bar Association will do their dirty work. The OBA is even publicly commenting to the far-left Huffington Post and legitimizing Whitehouse’s attack.

Hopefully, the OBA will do the right thing and not be used as a tool of the far left. But either way, the episode is a reminder to Oklahomans that we let a private political group have government power at our peril.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org).

Cole Defends Position on Healthcare Reform

Congressman Tom Cole is defending his position that Democrats need to come up with their own ideas to fix health care.

“Several media outlets have reported that I have advocated abandoning Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Cole. “That is not at all what I suggested. My observation was that many Democrats have conceded that there are problems with Obamacare and that we should fix them, not repeal the law. I challenged them to put those fixes on the table for Congress to consider. To date, they have failed to do so.”

Cole continued by saying Obamacare has become a political issue once again.

“Let me be clear. The Affordable Care Act has been a failure. It has increased premiums, reduced patient choice, and placed tremendous financial burdens on thousands of hospitals in states that did not expand Medicaid. I have consistently voted to repeal and replace Obamacare. I believe it is ultimately unsustainable, and that Congress must address the issue honestly and candidly. If that means dealing seriously with Democrats who want to fix the problem, rather than exploit a political issue, I am more than willing to entertain those suggestions.”

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Shakeup

A leadership change is underway at the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Two members of the leadership team are no longer with the Bureau, which lobbies lawmakers for farm friendly issues.

“Executive Director Monia Wilke and Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations and Development John Collison are no longer employed by our organization. Because this is a personnel matter, we are not at liberty to comment further. The board would like to thank Monica and John for their service. We look forward to the future and remain dedicated to improving the lives of rural Oklahomans,” said Bureau Board President Tom Buchanan in a statement.

The board is working on hiring an interim executive director.

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