Internal battle over public records still active inside OCC

The internal battle over public information continues inside the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

An hour into Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Bob Anthony spent more than 15 minutes criticizing a news release from the Oklahoma Universal Service Fund that he said “blamed” ratepayers who protested the issuance of Winter Storm 2021 securitization bonds for resulting higher costs.

Anthony called the information in the release “garbage,” saying its figures were incorrect and the ratepayers were being blamed for an additional cost of more than 277 million dollars to taxpayers for the bonds.

The criticism was part of a Tuesday discussion at the regular OCC meeting focused on records requests to the state agency’s Public Information Office.  As the discussion progressed it focused more on requests made by Commissioner Anthony for records that OUSF Administrator Brandy Wreath called “excessive.”

The two officials argued back and forth for nearly 90 minutes before the meeting was adjourned with no action taken.

Anthony repeatedly referred to how he has been “ambushed” by last-minute additions to the agenda for OCC meetings.

Wreath told the commission his office is “more than willing” to comply with any reasonable request for public records.  He asked Anthony to be more specific, saying the request as it stands now would require hundreds of hours of work by staff members to review the videos of all OCC meetings – including staff discussions – before they could be released without violating the law.

Although Public Information Officer Trey Davis responded forcefully to Anthony referring to his office’s work as “garbage,” the emotional tone had eased by the end of the discussion.

Wreath repeated his request several times that Anthony be more specific about the videos he wanted.  Anthony insisted the Oklahoma Constitution was the guide for his request.