Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Bribery apparently not a “new argument” for the Oklahoma Supreme Court

Today’s AP article, “Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects request to reopen rate case,” raises some interesting issues about AT&T. If a past state supreme court case was decided by a 2-1 vote, and one of the justices voting with the majority to close the case was later sentenced to prison for taking a bribe related to the case, you’d think that would a legal situation worthy of redress. Apparently that is not the case in Oklahoma. According to the article, reprinted by NewsOK:

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected a request by Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony to reopen a 1986 regulatory case involving AT&T… Anthony asked the Supreme Court to reopen the rate case, arguing the 2-1 vote was tainted by a bribe paid to former Commissioner Bob Hopkins. Both Hopkins and an attorney for the phone company were sentenced to prison. The court ruled Monday that Anthony has failed to advance any new argument that would produce a different result.

If that vote in 1986 was decided, in part, by a bribed judge, isn’t that a “new argument that would produce a different result?!”

Apparently not.

Lawyers for AT&T in Oklahoma are busy these days. They, along with other carrier representatives, are actively opposing a proposed “statewide toll-free calling plan.”

I’m curious to know more background about the formation of our Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust (OETT). According to the OU K-20 Center’s “Learn More About OETT” page:

The Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust (OETT) was established in 2001 as a result of an agreement between Oklahoma’s Attorney General Drew Edmondson and AT&T Oklahoma, relating to the company’s transition to a modernized form of regulation. The final regulatory plan was finalized by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and approved by the state legislature. As part of the agreement, AT&T (then Southwestern Bell Communications) contributed $30 million in initial funding to the Trust. From 2002-2012, OETT has funded over $13.5 million to individual schools or districts through competitive grants.

Even though I worked for AT&T for two years in Oklahoma, I feel I still know very little about the history of regulations, settlements, and court cases which have involved the corporation in Oklahoma.

Maybe someone should create a digital story summarizing and sharing this “litigation history?” That probably wouldn’t qualify as a “celebratory” Oklahoma digital story, but it could be very instructive to learn more of this political and legal history of my state.

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