Detailing another reason I do not support Mike Hunter and do support Mark Myles for Attorney General of Oklahoma
By Darla Shelden on November 4, 2018
by Patrick B. McGuigan, Publisher
In early August, CapitolBeatOK in cooperation wtihThe City Sentinel newspaper exchanged several emails with the office of Attorney General Mike Hunter concerning the state’s litigation touching Opioid manufacturers, legal counsel, potential conflicts for attorneys and consultants, and other issues.
While some timely information was provided, several matters remained unanswered to this writer’s satisfaction.
I had asked the A.G.’s office, in an August 8 email, to “send me any waiver of potential conflicts signed by our attorney general related to the subject contracts.” I believed that the state government had to provide information (including waivers of conflict) on all experts and consultants, in support of transparency about the use of public money – that is, resources that could flow from any legal victory for the government in the Opioid litigation.
I explained in a late October email to Hunter’s office that I wanted the same information for anyone, lawyers or consultants (even if sub-contractors) who might benefit from the case.
The A.G.’s representative replied, “We provided a copy of our contract with Whitten Burrage the contract allows them to contract with outside experts or counsel. Whitten Burrage would have to be the ones to provide those contracts if in fact they exist.”
I confess that until that moment I did not understand that the attorney general’s office believed the information could be withheld, as belonging to an outside firm the A.G. had hired. That firm is also pursuing opioid litigation on behalf of sovereign Indian nations, which in my mind made a potential conflict crystal clear.
I am not given to wasted effort, and have not asked the private firm named in the email from Hunter’s office to release information the state apparently considers proprietary.
I do not contend the A.G.’s staffer is wrong as to the substance of the contract.
It does mystify that any agency would grant to an outside contractor or to unnamed sub-contractors control over the public’s right to know full information about potential or likely beneficiaries from government litigation.
The City Sentinel has detailed in editorials multiple reasons we supported Hunter’s Republican primary and runoff opponent, and now oppose Hunter’s election to a full term. Without hesitation, the newspaper endorses, and I personally support, his Democratic opponent, Mark Myles.
These words are intended to provide readers and friends with a few more of the myriad reasons for concern about returning to office an appointed incumbent who professes support for government transparency, but behaves to the contrary.