Oklahomans Against Bribery

Oklahomans Against Bribery

 

Oklahomans Against Bribery is group of citizens opposed to public corruption and dedicated to the pursuit of justice, especially in the $16+ billion AT&T bribery refund case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Do bribed votes count?

We say NO!

Almost 25 years ago, an AT&T (then Southwestern Bell) attorney was convicted of bribing an Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner in what was then believed to be a $30 million rate case.  Although both the telephone attorney and the commissioner were sent to federal prison, the bribed vote (critical to the "2-1" decision) was never overturned.  In September 2015, a group of prominent Oklahoma citizens filed an application at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission seeking to overturn the bribed vote and return to ratepayers some $16 billion in excess revenues generated by AT&T because of the bribery – likely the largest corporate fraud in the history of the United States. 

The U.S. Department of Defense says NO!

In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense cited “compelling evidence of intrinsic fraud utilized by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company” and “criminal activity” in a filing seeking to join the AT&T bribery refund case.  Refunds due for thousands of phone lines at military installations and federal agencies across Oklahoma are at stake.  

AT&T and state officials say Yes!

Despite a constitutional prohibition against bribery in Oklahoma and new evidence of intrinsic fraud at both the Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the OCC dismissed the AT&T bribery refund application in September 2016.  In a 2-1 vote, Commissioners Todd Hiett and Dana Murphy agreed with AT&T that "Bribed votes do count" and the commission was powerless to do anything about the bribed order.  Consequently, they decided neither the bribery refund application nor the new evidence of fraud were worth hearing.   The OCC also denied the U.S. Department of Defense's motion to join the case when it dismissed the bribery refund application.

The AT&T bribery refund applicants immediately appealed the OCC’s decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  But just days before Christmas 2017, the state’s highest court issued an 8-1 decision upholding the OCC’s dismissal while completely ignoring both the new evidence of fraud and the constitutional questions about bribery raised in the applicants’ appeal.  Notably, Chief Justice Douglas L. Combs dissented from the decision of the court’s other justices.

But what does the United States Supreme Court say?

Seeking relief from rulings at both the Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Supreme Court that have inexplicably allowed a bribed order to stand for almost 30 years, applicants in the AT&T bribery refund case filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2018, asking the nation’s highest court to hear their appeal for justice.

In their petition for writ of certiorari, the applicants argue their "right to petition" under the First Amendment was violated when the OCC dismissed their bribery refund application "with prejudice," prohibiting them from ever raising the issue again.   

In addition to guaranteeing rights to freedom of religion, free speech, free press, and free assembly, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution also guarantees citizens the right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances."  The 2015 bribery refund application was, in effect, a petition asking the OCC to redress the grievance (or, correct the injustice) of AT&T’s bribery.  

In their petition, the bribery refund applicants argue that the OCC went too far in its attempt to end forever their efforts to "correct the effects of pernicious bribery," violating their constitutional rights in the process.  If the high court agrees, it could send the case back to the Oklahoma Supreme Court for further review.
 

(Return to the top.)