CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY- An Oklahoma lawmaker said a county commissioner association under investigation by state officials should be subject to the Oklahoma Open Records and Open Meetings Acts and has called on Oklahoma's attorney general to weigh in.
The Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma (ACCO) is currently under investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) and the state Auditorâs Office following allegations of fund misappropriation.
State Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, said that several county commissioners have requested records, but the association has refused, claiming it is a private entity and is exempt from state sunshine laws.
Cleveland said that because the entity receives taxpayer dollars from counties, they should be subjected to the same laws as other government agencies and commissions.
"This group is, in my opinion, a state entity and should be transparent in their dealings with the public," said Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. "I"m really starting to get fed up with taxpayer funded organizations just spitting in the face of the hardworking Oklahomans who support their little freedoms. We've been down this road recently in the Legislature. I have no problem calling organizations like this to account on behalf of Oklahoma's taxpayers."
Rep. Cleveland has sent a letter to Attorney General Scott Pruitt requesting an opinion on whether the association should be subject to the Open Records and Open Meetings Acts.
According to its website, the ACCO serves as a statewide clearinghouse for leadership training, educational programming and a, comprehensive array of services, on behalf of the county commissioners in Oklahoma's 77 counties.
The association is governed by a board of directors, which appoints an executive director.
Every county commissioner in Oklahoma currently is a member of the association, using taxpayer dollars to join the organization. In addition, ACCO provides insurance for the counties, with premiums paid by taxpayer dollars, said Cleveland.