Corporation Commissioner Says Government Reform Has to Begin With “Honesty”

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony takes issue with Step Up Oklahoma and its call for Commissioners to be appointed by the governor and not chosen by voters.

In an editorial this week, the long-time commissioner reminded the group of civic and business leaders their ideas are not new and they were first raised 30 years ago the the Academy for State Goals.

“The very first “key recommendation” suggest by the think tank and adopted by the Academy in 1987 fell under the category of “Government Reforms.” It read, “Oklahoma’s state and local government must be, and must appear to be honest and efficient,”” wrote the Commissioner. “Then, as now, I agree that efficiencies without honesty are pointless.”

Anthony pointed out that since the 1987 recommendation, the stdate has had an insurance commissioner, a corporation commissioner, a state auditor and a state senate president pro tem convicted of bribery and numerous sheriffs and state legislators charged with or convicted of various wrongdoings. Those wrongdoings included extortion, misappropriation of funds, willful violation of the law, willful neglect of duty, sexual misconduct, embezzlement and illegally spending campaign funds for personal use.

But the Commissioner takes issue with Step Up Oklahoma’s suggestion that corporation commissioners should be appointed.

“There is no simple answer here, but of the forty corporation commissioners who have served since statehood, fifth got their start by a governor’s appointment,” stated Anthony who says it’s time to look at the facts.

“A cursory survey reveals ‘qualification’s for appointment appear to include losing a race for Congress, working as a paid lobbyist, being term-limited from the legislature and representing a regulated utility as a paid attorney in a case before the commission. More in-depth analysis might identify other reasons to question trusting a governor’s judgment over that of the voters,” said Anthony.

He concluded his editorial message by stating, “In a nutshell, any government reform should start with concrete measures to improve honesty and integrity among Oklahoma’s public servants. First, let’s step up to honesty.”

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