Editor’s notebook: By the numbers, a fraud conviction, and a new chairman
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Published: 10-Jul-2012

From an editor’s notebook, job numbers point to Republican successes at the state level, prosecutors have gained conviction in an important fraud case at the state level, and Patrice Douglas takes charge of the powerful state Corporation Commission.

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Townhall.com notes that 17 states that elected Republican governors in 2010 are experiencing greater reductions in their unemployment levels than the national average reduction over the past 18 months. 

Kansas - 6.9% to 6.1% = a decline of 0.8%

Maine - 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%

Michigan - 10.9% to 8.5% = a decline of 2.4%

New Mexico - 7.7% to 6.7% = a decline of 1.0%

Oklahoma - 6.2% to 4.8% = a decline of 1.4%

Pennsylvania - 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%

Tennessee - 9.5% to 7.9% = a decline of 1.6%

Wisconsin - 7.7% to 6.8% = a decline of 0.9%

Wyoming - 6.3% to 5.2% = a decline of 1.1%

Alabama - 9.3% to 7.4% = a decline of 1.9%

Georgia - 10.1% to 8.9% = a decline of 1.2%

Writing for Breitbart.com, Tony Lee reports concerning the Republican-governed states:

“The average drop in the unemployment rate in these states was 1.35 percent, compared to the national decline of .9 percent, which means, according to the analysis, that the job market in these Republican states is improving 50% faster than the national rate.”

On the other hand, Robert Elliott of Examiner.com reports eight states that elected new Democratic governors in 2010 saw an average drop in unemployment just under 1 percent (.95) – roughly the same as the national average. Those states and their declines in unemployment were

Colorado - 8.8% to 8.1% = a decline of 0.7%

New York - 8.2% to 8.6% = an increase of 0.4%

Oregon - 9.9% to 8.4% = a decline of 1.5%

California - 12.1% to 10.8% = a decline of 1.3%

Connecticut - 9.3% to 7.8% = a decline of 1.5%

Hawaii - 6.7% to 6.3% = a decline of 0.4%

Minnesota - 6.8% to 5.6% = a decline of 1.2%

Vermont - 6.0% to 4.6% = a decline of 1.4%
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The fraud case involving a former employee of the state Treasurer’s office has resulted in conviction. LaTisha Raye Reid, 43, of Oklahoma City, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, with 16 years of probation. She was found guilty of multiple counts of criminal fraud and forgery. She was acquitted on one count of conspiracy. 

A press release on Monday (July 9) fro Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office said Reid was ordered to pay $19,101 in restitution to the Unclaimed Property Fund. Co-defendants previously were ordered to pay $10,365. 

Reid faced four indictments from the state Multicounty Grand Jury, based on a total of 24 felony counts. The investigation was led by the state Bureau of Investigation, the treasurer’s office, and Pruitt office.  

Pruitt’s office recapitulated the indictments: “Reid created fraudulent court documents and death certificates using state computers in order to obtain money from the state’s unclaimed property fund. She also used state computers to search the data records of her office and those of the Social Security Administration to locate available funds. She was aided by two family members and two other friends of the family. All were indicted by the multicounty grand jury in September [2011].”

In comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, Attorney General Pruitt said, “A priority of the Attorney General’s Office is to investigate and prosecute criminals who try to take advantage of the system and commit fraud at taxpayer expense. I commend the investigators and prosecutors in this case who worked hard on behalf of Oklahoma citizens.”

In the present cycle of the multicounty grand jury, the 13th in the history of the institution, members have thus far presented 18 indictments touching 15 defendants in five counties. 

* * * 

The newest member of the state Corporation Commission, former Edmond Mayor Patrice Douglas, has been elected chairman of the regulatory body, effective August 1. She will succeed Commissioner Dana Murphy. Both Murphy and Commissioner Bob Anthony supported Douglas’ election. 

Anthony won overwhelming reelection in the June 26 Republican primary. With no Democratic opposition, he gains a new six-year term, as the longest serving elected utilities’ regulator in modern American history. 

Saying she was “honored” by her colleagues’ support, Douglas she would work “to continue smooth and efficient operations of the Commission.”

The chairman’s duties at the body – which includes elements of executive, judicial and even legislative-like powers – include managing hearing dockets and agendas, interaction with the Legislature on policy matters touching the Commission’s regulatory authority, which is based both in statutory laws and the state Constitution. 

Douglas observed, “With four division offices statewide as well as our offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, it is critical we formulate a strategic plan that protects Oklahoma’s natural resources and furthers our economic development.”

Appointed in 2011 by Governor Mary Fallin to complete the term of Jeff Cloud, Douglas, who is a Republican, drew no opposition from either political party this year and will serve until 2014, when will face election for a full term of six years.

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