Edmondson Only Candidate to Walk the Walk on Transparency
Opponents refuse to provide voters with financial disclosures
OKLAHOMA CITY, Aug. 9, 2018 – Drew Edmondson today said that by refusing to release their financial information and information on any potential conflicts of interest, Republican gubernatorial candidates Mick Cornett and Kevin Stitt have forfeited their right to talk about transparency on the campaign trail.
Oklahoma Watch requested tax and financial information from statewide candidates and, according to the news outlet, Edmondson was the only gubernatorial candidate to provide the requested information.
“My opponents certainly have the right to keep this information secret, but in doing so, they have forfeited their right to talk about transparency,” Edmondson said. “This was an opportunity to demonstrate a change between themselves and Governor Fallin’s administration, and they failed.”
For voters to make informed decisions, they must know more about the candidates than what they learn from sound bites and 30-second ads, Edmondson said.
“Open government has been relegated to the back burner for the last eight years and people want change,” Edmondson said. “It’s important that voters know that their governor has no conflicts of interest and will always act in the best interests of the state. Opening up this personal financial information is the best way to ensure no potential problems exist.”
A staple of Edmondson’s candidacy has been his pledge to bring more transparency to Oklahoma government. To facilitate this, he will create an Office of Open Government tasked with ensuring compliance with Oklahoma’s sunshine laws.
A recipient of Freedom of Information Oklahoma’s Marian Opala First Amendment Award, Edmondson has long been recognized as a champion of open government. As attorney general, Edmondson frequently forced government agencies to be more transparent, including issuing an Opinion that declared government email records were public documents available for inspection, filling a gap in public access to electronic communications. Edmondson also created and taught a statewide, multiyear series of educational seminars designed to inform local, county and state officials, as well as the general public, about the requirements of Oklahoma’s openness laws.
“The other candidates talk about how they support transparency in government but, apparently, it’s all just talk,” he said. “Voters deserve leadership, not empty words. Whether or not to release this information was their decision. They have chosen secrecy, and the voters will judge accordingly.”
A Navy veteran, Edmondson taught speech and debate at Muskogee Central High School after returning from service in Vietnam. He is a graduate of Northeastern State College and the University of Tulsa School of Law. He is a former Oklahoma attorney general and Muskogee County district attorney. Learn more at www.drewforoklahoma.com.