Corporation Commissioner wants AG opinion whether agency is obstructing him over public records


Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony upped the ante in his fight to obtain public records into his ongoing efforts to investigate what he alleges was wrongdoing and excessive costs of $5 billion in the 2021 winter storm Uri ratepayer-backed bond issues.

He asked Attorney General Gentner Drummond on Monday for a legal opinion whether the Corporation Commission staff are violating state law in denying or slow walking his requests for public information about the storm costs.

“Having experienced what I believe to be threats and intimidation, in addition to willful obstruction, delay and hindrance in the last three years, my ability to discharge my duties as a Corporation Commissioner (a constitutional State officer) and to serve, protect and information citizens has been severely compromised,” began Anthony in his request.

Anthony has been at odds with the Commission’s General Administrator Brandy Wreath who denied him some public records last year and told Anthony at the time to make a public records request like antyone else. Anthony did not identify Wreath by name in his complaint and request.

In his 9-page letter to the Attorney General, Commissioner Anthony said it’s believed there are more than 200,000 records identified regarding his requests but after 19 months, less than a thousand have been provided directly to him. He said he’s been told there are agency concerns regarding state law which prohibits disclosure to the commission of matters discussed during a settlement conference.

Anthony contends the state Constitution provides each commissioner a “right to inspect the books and papers of any…public service corporation.” He believes the Constitution also gives him the power and authority, as a commissioner, the duty of supervising, regulation of companies and “of correcting abuses and preventing unjust discrimination and extortion of such companies.”

Anthony further stated he believes state law cited by the Commission staff in denying him his request “was never intended to block or delay commissioners trying to perform their crucial constitutional” duties.

“In fact, in my 35+ years of service at this commission, I do not recall a single instance of being denied access to agency records on the basis of 17 O.S. Sec 282(F) until I started asking questions about the outrageous $2.8 billion of February 202 Winter Storm fuel costs and the $2+  billion more of ratepayer-backed bond costs,” Anthony told Drummond in his letter.

The Commissioner called it a “crisis of obstruction and hindrance” and said his request covers vital constitutional, statutory and other duties of his office.

“Per the Oklahoma Statutes, it is a “crime against public justice” to delay or obstruct a Corporation Commissioner as he/she attempts to discharge duties of his/her office.”