Here’s another interesting court decision in Oklahoma. Oh, this time it’s not a petition with hundreds of thousands of voter signatures being tossed out. And no, it’s not quite as crazy as that ruling allowing a man to photograph up the skirts of girls at the mall.
This time Oklahoma’s highest court has ruled that former State Senator Gene Stipe is entitled to an $84,000 a year state pension.
Gene Stipe was a state legislator for 54 years, the longest in history. But in 2003, facing removal due to term limits and a federal indictment, Stipe resigned. He was then convicted on federal campaign violations and perjury.
Stipe also faces new charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, witness-tampering and illegal monetary transactions. Talk about an experienced legislator.
Oklahoma’s retirement system board ruled that Stipe’s crimes violated his oath of office. A 1981 law requires in such case the pension benefits are forfeit. But the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided otherwise, giving Stipe his full pension. The lone dissenter, Chief Justice Winchester, wrote “I would assert that tampering with an election goes to the very heart” of the oath of office.
Some wonder why Attorney General Drew Edmondson hasn’t investigated Stipe on state charges. But Stipe is a large contributor to Edmondson. When the AG was asked why he hadn’t returned Stipe’s money, Edmondson explained there was no conflict, since, after all, he wasn’t investigating Stipe.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.