Corporation Commission Delays Decision on 25-year old Bribed Vote Case

An attempt to resurrect the controversial 25-year old bribed decision granting a rate hike to ATT by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission took another step Wednesday but no final decision was made as one of the three commissioners was absent for the hearing.

Commissioner Bob Anthony proposed a motion for the commission to determine formally that bribery was “repugnant to the Constitution”, wording from a decades-old State Supreme Court decision in a previous case. With Commissioner Dana Murphy not in attendance, Commissioners Anthony and Commissioner Todd Hiett laid the groundwork for a possible decision in opposition to Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The two decided to take the matter under advisement until Murphy can attend a meeting where a possible vote could be made.

The case concerns the bribery of Commissioner Bob Hopkins in a 1989 decision granting a rate hike to Southwestern Bell, which later came under ownership of ATT. The State Supreme Court decided last year it did not have jurisdiction to consider declaring the 25 year old vote null and void because of the bribed vote and dismissed the efforts of Anthony and several consumers in attempting to right the wronged vote.”

Anthony on Wednesday presented a May 1996 brief of the State Attorney General which stated, “As set forth more fully below, the convictions of Commissioner Hopkins and William Anderson for bribery constitute an irrefutable denial of due process in this cause.”

It was Anthony’s stance that since bribery constituted a “repugnancy to the Constitution” and an “errefutable denial of due process” that another hearing and vote should be taken all these years later.

Billions of dollars in refund are at stake in the challenge and Attorney General Pruitt has sided with ATT in fighting efforts to hold another vote.

“We should start with the Constitution,” declared Anthony. “The big question is whether we should dismiss the case or hold a new trial.”

He told the crowd on hand the decision had to be determined whether the commission should go forward or consider the bribed vote like ‘spilled milk’ and do nothing.

In the end, Anthony asked, “Should we wait until Commissioner Murphy is available?”

“I think it’s advisable,” suggested Commissioner Hiett.

No date for a hearing on the matter was set.


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