Supreme Court Upholds Bribed Corporation Commission Vote Again
The Oklahoma Supreme court has again struck down the efforts of some consumers seeking $16 billion in refunds from AT&T over a bribed Corporation Commission vote in 1989.
With one dissenting vote, the justices ruled they had previously ruled against the issue on other occasions and did again this time. They upheld a decision by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission against refunding the money that stemmed from a vote originally in support of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company before it was taken over by AT&T.
The case in question was PUD 260 where the Corporation Commission, on a 2-1 vote in 1989 determined that SWBT surplus revenue should not be refunded to its ratepayers.
Four years later, then Commissioner Bob Hopkins was convicted of accepting a bribe from a SWBT attorney.
In 1997, the commission voted not to hold a rehearing on the case, saying it was not warranted.
Led by Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony, the lone vote against the 1989 decision, a group of consumers again challenged the issue and took it to the state Supreme court.
“We find the Commission acted within its authority in hearing and granting this Motion to Dismiss,” ruled the justices in referring to the OCC decision.
In in the latest case, the consumers asked the supreme court to reopen and vacate the 1989 order, contending it involves a constitutional violation and required a higher standard of review.
“We find Customers’ assertion without merit. But even so, a full review and consideration of all facts in this matter and the law leads us to the same result,” wrote the majority of the justices. “The issues raised by Customers have already been considered on two separate occasions——we previously determined that ratepayers were not entitled as a matter of law to a mandatory refund of the surplus money held by SWBT created from federal tax changes.”