An Oklahoma lawyer named Anthony J. Ferate is at the center of an enormous scandal that rocked the political class in Utah enough that it caused a sitting Attorney General to resign.
Corrupt businessmen’s funneling illegal campaign donations into isn’t news really, more like business is usual here in Oklahoma especially for the state senate. By any other name it is still a bribe when businesses give campaign contributions with the expectations of sweetheart deals for their industry or business. Sure they say, with a straight face no doubt, that the funds merely purchases access but we all know that no one is giving money to a politician unless they expect something in return.
The story out of Utah focuses on campaign funding funneled through nonprofit groups set up for the purpose of getting particular candidates elected and little else. A combination of public records, affidavits and a special legislative report
gave a bird’s eye view of the world of political nonprofit groups that usually hide behind a wall of secrecy as they can hide their donors as long as they follow the rules to remain compliant with the IRS as a nonprofit group. That means pushing education only and refraining from supporting or opposing a particular issue or politician. Basically you can expose their voting record and tell the public that they really are the father of the litter of puppies down the road but you have to refrain from saying vote for or vote against the rascal.
The Utah scandal erupted around a sitting state attorney general with the unlikely name of John Swallow. Sounds like a porn star non de plume and really the guy wasn’t that far from the profession as he was totally pimping for the payday loan industry. Elected in 2012 and hounded out of office in November of 2013 after the allegations of illegal contributions lead to an investigation. They had set up a web of nonprofit groups in several states and funneled hundreds of thousands of illegal donations from payday loan lenders. Mr. Swallow’s campaign strategist established the groups and profited as the funds moved around, forgetting to file accurate tax returns in the process according to affidavits filed by the Utah State Bureau of Investigation.
The evidence shows that a lot of political money simply isn’t traceable. The lawyer that was holding the bag claims that no laws were broken and that both parties use the tactics. John Swallow was a former lawmaker as well and well familiar with the rules and regulations on campaign finance from his work as a lobbyist for the payday loan company Check City.
A lot of legislators come from the lobbyist ranks and like in Utah the corporate welfare organizations run the lobbyists for office and is anyone surprised that they do the bidding of those that paid their way into office? John Swallow teamed up with a powerful Republican consultant and Oklahoma lawyer Anthony J. Ferate and boy did these knuckleheads leave a wide trail of emails and documents behind them when they were doing the dirty deeds.
Ferate had been quite active as an official for various nonprofit groups or as a consultant and behind a lot of the groups was the tactic of using nonprofit groups to funnel contributions into super PACs which would then name the nonprofit group as the sole donor. The plans began to unravel after the IRS asked one of the nonprofit groups involved to document its activities and finances which lead Ferate and Powers to allegedly reclassify $156,000 in expenditures from election expenditures to ‘non election” expenditures. The Utah Bureau of Investigation alleges that there were false statements made because otherwise they would be found breaking IRS rules. Both of the men deny that they made any false statements to the IRS and after a follow up letter the IRS appears to have abandoned the case, some say because of the turmoil over the IRS targeting conservative groups in the past few years.
Ferate has been doing legal work for the Oklahoma Republican Party, serving as their general counsel and treasurer. Sources say that Ferate takes his marching orders from Larry Nichols. Zebras don’t change their stripes so one wonders how much money is being funneled into Oklahoma elections without public disclosure. Ferate is listed as working for Devon Energy as well.
The FEC was after our boy last year for not filing properly on political donations:
Dave Weston at the state GOP could use a few emails as well asking him to find a general counsel that isn’t quite so notorious.
A Trip To The Moon, Part 4
By Ms PM
We ended last week by saying there were other charges against Al shortly after the blackmail charges were filed and the hope in our view was to entice him into a plea deal so it would all go away….Notice I used the word “entice” rather than blackmail, and given the broad scope of the blackmail statute here in Oklahoma, it would be an easy assimilation of the two words.
In this article printed on April 25,2013
we have another attack hurled at Al from the Attorney General’s office. This time he is accused of contempt of court violating a judge’s order to keep his testimony quiet after going before the grand jury. What we find interesting is the statement in this article says that the attorney general’s office “advises grand jurors.” And we ask, exactly what type of “advise” do they offer, and whose colored glasses are these advisors looking through? What we find more interesting is that the AG more than likely knew that Al had not done anything wrong or at the very least should have known, but decided to put the screws in a little tighter. What the AG doesn’t seem to know is that Al doesn’t squeal like a pig and their tactics will not work.
This next article
states that the “suggestion of contempt of court” we talked about in the previous paragraph was withdrawn. Imagine that. And why would it be that Al wanted to file a motion to have DA Prater recused in the blackmail trial? Sometimes it’s hard to cover up a “hard on” regardless of how baggy your britches are. Crude as that statement is, it is also very true.
On To The Hearing
The allegations against Al consist of political speech; have no allegations of any acts of force or violence. There was no crime of any kind. The prosecution in this case seeks to criminalize a citizen’s right to protest and have an objection regarding a public official who’s seen through Al’s eyes as someone failing to do his duty to the people of Oklahoma. Al’s way of doing business is seen by others as rude and asking around there is no doubt that many would do things differently, a lot differently.
Al’s email said; “Branan, get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it. I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate if I don’t hear that this bill will be heard and passed. We will dig into your past, your family, and your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.” Politicians should be held to a higher standard but they are not. They can be a morally bankrupt jackass but people seem to think being honest is not that big a deal. The same people fail to realize that with the amount of power they hold the lack of honesty and morality will never cross paths with the corruption we fight on a daily basis.
In the States Motion it says; “This case is about a defendant who, rather than publicly expose whatever negative information he claimed to have about Senator Branan, chose instead to keep those facts secret and expose them only if Senator Branan refused to act in accord with defendant’s political wishes. Why would Al say he would “dig” into Branan’s past if, as the states motion says, Al would “expose whatever negative information he “claimed” to have.” Digging it up is far different than having the information. It is easy to see the spin if you take the time to read and understand what is actually said. Al sent his email to a boat-load of people, he didn’t keep anything secretive. And what exactly is Al’s payoff if Branan refused the bill to stop Agenda 21 in Oklahoma? Would all the people in Oklahoma benefit from stopping Agenda 21 or would it just be Al? This case is not about Agenda 21, but it was the catalyst that started the ball rolling.
There have been other Agenda 21 bills and Branan has refused all of them. HB 1412 is the latest. In the Preliminary Transcript, Ms Townsend, Branan’s executive assistant, stated on page 19, line 14 that there were a “high number of emails” regarding HB 1412. Her “high number” answer only came out after Al’s lawyer phrased the question specifically pertaining to the emails about the bill. She would not volunteer an honest answer but the answer did come out. Many people wonder why Branan refuses to bring these Agenda 21 bills to the floor of the Senate. We wonder if the Senator has accurate information about Agenda 21 and if so what is his payoff for not allowing a vote. Does anyone know what he knows? The bigger question is does he know what he thinks he knows about Agenda 21? HB 1412 overwhelmingly passed the House in a Bi-partisan vote.
On page 39 in the Preliminary Transcript, Line 23, 24, and 25, Branan stated “I was unaware of whatever the final vote was in committee or on the House floor. That would have little relevance to, if I would hear it or not.” Does anyone question why he didn’t know? His office received a “high number of emails” from people and he chose not to find out the results of the vote and took it upon himself to kill HB 1412.
What is it about Senator Branan that allows him to ignore the importance of an Agenda 21 bill when clearly every citizen in Oklahoma will be affected? He ignores the people he represents and states in the Preliminary Transcript on page 39, lines 11, 12 and 13, when the question was asked, “why had you not heard those previous bills,” his answer was, “I felt it was a solution to a problem that did not exist.” On page 39 of the Preliminary Transcript, Lines 14 through 17, the question, “So in thinking this was a solution to a problem that did not exist, was your concern based on personal desires or the good or interest of the people of Oklahoma?” Branan’s answer on Lines 18 and 19, “The good and the interest of the people in the state of Oklahoma.”
Next week we will continue to explain through Brannan’s testimony, in his own words, his ineptness towards the office he holds and the people he represents. Our readers will make up their own mind as to how they have been represented by their vote to put him in office.
Anti Second Amendment Forces Demand
Oklahoma County Sheriffs Disarm
Or Leave the Building
By the Watchman
For as long as we can remember, whether under a Democratic or Republican administration, the Sheriffs of the State of Oklahoma have met at the State Capital to Lobby for their needs. They have been cleared by the law and the Capitol Police to carry their arms as Certified, Qualified Law Enforcement Officers of the State of Oklahoma. Sure The Senate made excuses. Sure the Senate blamed others. But when push comes to shove, the Senate realized they made a mistake. Now they shall reap their rewards of their injustice.
Investigating this story has been like pulling teeth from a man that wears dentures; its been impossible. The first article we came across was this
. If you’ll notice it says a Senator, yet doesn’t identify the Senator. It gives the appearance that the entire Senate is guilty. Why are they afraid to be open with the public? Whose career are they protecting? This gives the appearance that they were all in agreement with this decision.
The next article we found was this
. This is a National news feed people. Again they fail to identify the Senator that refused the Sheriffs entry. Now this Senator has embarrassed the State in front of the entire nation. In fact the entire Senate roster has embarrassed the State of Oklahoma. You people are supposed to be grown men and women yet you act like a bunch of 5 year olds that got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. When is the guilty party or party’s going to get the balls to stand up and take responsibility for their actions?
We also found this article
. We can’t help but feel that the Senate is trying to lay the blame for their shame on someone else. This is the only article we found that tried to lay the blame on the Senate Sergeant at Arms. Really, how petty is this. You’re brave enough to run them out, but won’t take the blame. How disgusting is that. We might have known that the Daily Disappointment would write a story like this too. They’re the only paper in the state that still buys into the garbage the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce sells.
Would you like to know how much you embarrassed this Great State of Oklahoma. We’re going to tell you. We actually found dozens of articles on this subject in newspapers from coast to coast. This article would be ten pages long if we listed them all. There should be a public proclamation from the Oklahoma State Senate of Apology to the Sheriffs of Oklahoma over this incident. By Public Proclamation we mean a press conference covered by all the stations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa where it is formally declared that the Sheriffs being asked to leave because they were armed was the fault of a single Senator or a group of Senators. Those Senators should be named. In addition that Senator or those Senators should make an apology each to the Sheriffs Association at the press conference. In addition the President pro-tem should launch an inquiry into their actions.
Now what’s going to happen from this, absolutely nothing. The Senator that caused this ruckus will get away with it because he’s liberal just like the president pro-tem. This will be white washed and forgotten by everyone involved except the Sheriffs. They will continue to do their duty to the fullest and defend the constitution that they took an oath to. You Senators remember that oath don’t you? It’s the same oath to defend the Constitution that you took when you were sworn in. Maybe it’s high time you all took another look at it. Stop being an embarrassment to the People of Oklahoma. Maybe it’s time that if you feel that you can no longer live up to the oath that you swore to uphold, including the 2nd
Amendment, than you tender your resignation from office.