Democratic nominee for state attorney general signs Open Government Pledge
An Oklahoma City attorney has pledged that if he is elected state attorney general, the office will comply with the letter and spirit of the state’s Open Records Act.
In signing FOI Oklahoma’s Open Government Pledge for statewide candidates, Mark Myles also promised “to support at every opportunity” the state’s public policy that “the people are vested with the inherent right to know and be fully informed about their government so that they can efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power.”
Democrat Myles faces incumbent and GOP nominee Mike Hunter in the Nov. 6 general election.
Myles’ campaign website lists government transparency as a priority, stating:
The office of the attorney general is a watchdog for all the other agencies of government in state. For our great democracy to continue to function properly, our government must be transparent. Therefore, the attorney general must uphold the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act.
Myles also criticizes how Hunter and his predecessor Scott Pruitt handled public access to records related to the Tar Creek Superfund site. The Campaign for Accountability, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, has sued for access to the records. Included was an investigative audit of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Trust created to help residents move from the contaminated towns of Picher and Cardin in northeast Oklahoma.
State Auditor Gary Jones has said his staff who conducted the audit found criminal wrongdoing. However, Pruitt and then Hunter refused to prosecute and withheld the audit from the public.
Hunter unexpectedly released the audit and other documents on April 9 – reportedly the day after the deadline for prosecuting criminal acts alleged in the audit. On April 10, the Campaign for Accountability sued Hunter for copies of communications between Pruitt and his staff and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and his staff regarding the Tar Creek Superfund site. The nonprofit had requested the records in December.
Myles’ website says Pruitt and Hunter “were discovered to be part of a heinous conspiracy to ensure no one was charged for conspiring against the state for stealing $3 million.”
[For more information regarding the lawsuits seeking access to the audit and other records, click on:
FOI Oklahoma invites all candidates for state, local and legislative seats to sign the pledge on FOI Oklahoma’s website, where a list of signers also can be found.
Since FOI Oklahoma began the pledge in 2008, 186 candidates have signed — with 95, or 51 percent —being elected at least once. FOI Oklahoma began the Open Government Pledge as part of a national effort to spur public commitments to government transparency from candidates for president down to city council contests.
Joey Senat, Ph.D.
OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications
Mass Communication Law in Oklahoma
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, its board of directors or the commentator’s employer. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.