Statement from Senator Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tem:
"I'm continually astounded at the amount of taxpayers money Governor Keating is willing to waste in his attempt to get his hands on as much power as possible. If he carries through with his threat to file yet another expensive lawsuit, no one will suffer more than the Oklahoma taxpayer. The Governor should admit defeat gracefully and move on, instead of attempting to stick taxpayers with another large legal tab.
Governor Keating's failure to grasp the difference between the state and federal constitutions is painfully and alarmingly evident in his latest press release. He continues to attempt to apply federal appointment powers to state government in Oklahoma. Unlike the federal level where the President has broad appointment authority, appointment powers are dispersed among a variety of sources in Oklahoma. Our founding fathers in Oklahoma divided the appointment powers between the legislative and executive branches because they feared the abuse that might result from a power hungry chief executive.
This is Oklahoma, Mr. Keating, not Washington, D.C. You're Governor, not President of the United States.
The facts of the matter are pretty simple. If one person, in this case, the Governor, is allowed to control the appointments to state pension boards in Oklahoma, that person will control billions of dollars in retirement funds. That person would have great latitude to abuse the public trust and endanger the pensions of thousands of state retirees.
The Governor's reference to previous House and Senate leaders is irrelevant to the question at hand. Neither the Speaker nor the Senate President is seeking sole control over state appointments. Governor Keating is. He wants one person in charge, not coincidentally himself, calling the shots over billions of dollars in state funds. He may not find that prospect scary, but I assure you, thousands of Oklahomans do.
Before he decides to carry forward with another expensive, wasteful lawsuit, I would suggest that Governor Keating read the opinion handed down by Oklahoma Supreme Court this week. Then he should breeze through the state and federal constitutions, and note their differences.
A few minutes of homework by Governor Keating will save Oklahoma taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees."