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(note: I got this from my friend, John Wylie. John is a longtime Democratic activist and publisher of the Oologah Lake Leader newspaper who has covered national and international energy issues for three decades.)
Bode’s recusal is too little, too late
Commissioner’s office may already be vacant
Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode has failed to protect Oklahomans from the fallout of her decision to run a new natural gas lobbying group and may already have forfeited her office, a leading Democratic expert on the commission said Saturday.
“Denise Bode has recused herself from all matters involving Chesapeake Energy, but she must go further and step aside in any case involving power production. In addition, she should immediately disclose when she first started discussions about this new position-which she appears to have had a major role in creating-so that parties to recently decided cases can decide if they have grounds to challenge her impartiality,” said John Wylie, the 2004 Democratic candidate for Corporation Commissioner.
Monday’s commission agenda shows just how serious the problem is. There are two items on the 24-hour signing agenda; one is final approval for an order in the five-year-old case involving a proposed cogeneration plant in Lawton where fuel selection has been a key issue.
On the daily signing agenda, more than one quarter of the cases-12 out of 46-directly involve Chesapeake . Other cases may affect the company, something that cannot be determined just from an agenda listing.
“If Denise Bode acted properly, she could not take part in half of Monday more complex cases and one-quarter of the more routine cases. Taxpayers are not getting the value of her salary, and more recusals are sure to come. She must seriously consider making her resignation effective immediately, to prevent waste of tax dollars and allow the immediate appointment of a commissioner who can carry his or her full share of the work,” Wylie said. “Bode’s limited recusal is too little, too late.”
In fact, he noted, Bode’s office may already have become vacant under Article 9, Section 16 of the Oklahoma Constitution due to her involvement in the new organization. (Text attached).
Bode on Friday announced that she will resign her seat effective May 31 to head a new Washington-based group, the American Clean Skies Foundation, which will promote natural gas use and engage in the political debate over global warming. Chesapeake Energy is a founding member.
A Proud Democrat from Will Rogers’ Birthplace
109 S. Maple Street; PO Box 1175 , Oologah , OK 74053-1175
918-443-2428 Fax:918-443-2429 E-Mail: email@example.com
Article 9 – Corporations
Section Article 9 section 16 – Qualifications of commissioners
Cite as: O.S. §, __ __
§ 16. Qualifications of commissioners.
The qualifications of such commissioners shall be as follows: To be resident citizens of this State for over two years next preceding the election, and qualified voters under the Constitution and laws, and not less than thirty years of age; nor shall such commissioners, or either of them, be, directly or indirectly, interested in any railroad, street railway, traction line, canal, steam boat, pipe line, car line, sleeping car line, car association, express line, telephone or telegraph line, operated for hire, in this State, or out of it, or any stock, bond, mortgage, security, or earnings of any such railroad, street railway, traction line, canal, steam boat, pipe line, car line, sleeping car line, car association, express line, telephone or telegraph line, compress or elevator companies; and if such Commissioner shall voluntarily become so interested, his office shall become vacant; and if any Corporation Commissioner shall become so interested otherwise than voluntarily, he shall, within a reasonable time, divest himself of such interest; and failing to do this, his office shall become vacant. Nor shall any such commissioner hold any other office under the government of the United States , or of this State, or any other state government, and shall not, while such Commissioner, engage in any occupation or business inconsistent with his duties as such commissioner.
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