OK-SAFE, Inc. – (Background note: In mid-2010 former OK Governor Brad Henry signed the grant application for a $54 million Early Innovator grant to establish an insurance exchange in Oklahoma. This exchange was a cornerstone of Obama Care. In February 2011 Governor Mary Fallin accepted the grant money, after having won the 2010 election campaigning against Obama Care.
Public outrage and political push back followed.
In late April 2011 Fallin did an ‘about face’ and rejected the $54 million. Open records request by various news outlets sought the correspondence leading up to this decision. In March 2013 Gov. Fallin’s office released 50,000 pages of documents. Missing were 100 pages of correspondence, held back claiming “executive privilege”. The Lost Ogle and the ACLU then sued the Governor, seeking the missing documents.)
From FOI Oklahoma, June 13, 2014:
Ruling expected today on whether executive, deliberative process privileges allow Oklahoma governor to keep records secret
An Oklahoma County trial judge said Thursday she expects to rule “by the end of the week” on whether executive and deliberative process privileges permit Gov. Mary Fallin to keep records secret from the public.
Because Fallin is the first Oklahoma governor to claim these privileges, Oklahoma courts have never addressed the issue.
“I am just trying to find out how much authority I have out there to rely on,” District Judge Barbara Swinton told Fallin’s attorney during heard oral arguments Thursday.
The Lost Ogle and the ACLU of Oklahoma sued Fallin in April 2013 after she claimed these privileges allow her to keep secret 100 pages of advice from “senior executive branch officials” on the creation of a state health insurance exchange.
Fallin’s decision to reject Medicaid expansion funding affected about 250,000 Oklahomans.
The phrases “executive privilege” and “deliberate process privilege” do not exist in Oklahoma’s Constitution or in any Oklahoma statute.
Rest of post here.
We will post the judge’s decision when it becomes available.