Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Lesson In Bovine Politics

Too Big to Fail?  A Lesson in Bovine Politics

Ahh…. Thank God for the government employee whistleblowers who play a crucial role in keeping an honest and ethical government functioning despite the best efforts of the politicians.

Before addressing the latest leak that harpoons our target we need to refresh your memory on exactly what constitutes the embezzlement of state property.  The crime can have multiple prongs, misallocation of earmarked and directed dollars to malicious or benevolent purposes, not spending the allocated dollars as directed by law and the budget, or using governmental resources or taxpayer dollars for private purposes or agendas.

Former Fallin Chief of Staff Denise Northrup has been a thorn in the side of anyone who values fair, competent, and selfless government.     Northrup had ordered the Department of Public Safety to  transfer a state trooper closer to the Capitol came after both she and Governor Mary Fallin had been put on notice multiple times that the trooper was lobbying for a private organization, the troopers association, and doing so while being paid with state tax dollars for doing state police work. 

  This isn't a simple matter of the embezzlement of state funds because federal dollars were involved as well, something that has not gone unnoticed by the Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.   Having the Governor's staff involved ratchets up the crime as surely the staff would have been aware of the illegality of the arrangement.   Northrup quickly lawyer-ed up we were told.

The entire situation involved lawsuits, shady behavior, the criminal fleecing of the taxpayer and the Governor's office blessing all the while being orchestrated by a cast of scoundrels, politicos, and excuses.   And to what degree did Northrup inform Governor Fallin or did she go about the nefarious deed without informing Fallin?  What we do know is that rumors of identified state statutes and evidence supporting criminal acts have been percolating at the D.A.'s office.

Northrup was ostracized and banished from the Governor's office last year although it was done with a soft landing as befits a former confidant that knows enough dirt to sink Fallin.   Northrup landed at the newly created position of chief operations officer at the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES).   What was noteworthy in the deal was the reason for her banishment; being aware of Fallin's poor favorable poll numbers, especially amongst collegiate audiences and being dumb enough to ask the announcer at an OSU game to announce the presence of Governor Fallin and trot her out on the field like a prize heifer at an OSU game  in October which was met with a chorus of booing and cat-calling  aimed at the deeply unpopular Governor.   Numerous fans have said that not a single cheer was heard despite Fallin being an OSU alumnus, something that Northrup ought to have been politically astute enough to predict.

Northrup has managed to poison her surrounding at OMES and nothing did that better than getting caught red handed calling Speaker Charles McCall "a very stupid person" in a text message that questioned his mental abilities in his official capacity.    Now Northrup  isn't known for pulling her punches or being nice and polite but texting such a message about a man she is required to interact with isn't an intelligent thing to do  Now we ourselves have called  McCall many things over the last year and a half but stupid isn't one of them as McCall has  managed to run a banking empire during difficult times  and did get himself elected Speaker while faced with stiff opposition.   One could say that he accomplished more than Northrup will ever do and he at least sticks his neck out rather than hiding in the shadows manipulating Fallin and attempting to manipulate the Legislature.

    Her actions speak more about an irrelevant political hack bitterly contesting being turned out to pasture when in fact she ought to count herself lucky that Fallin didn't send her to the rendering plant while she would fetch a good price per hundredweight.  Are we being gratuitously vicious comparing Northrup to a worn out brood cow that would bring more as dog food and rendered fat, yet who still rebels at her soft landing over at OMES?

No we are not; the analogy is quite fitting from a political viewpoint.  The fact is that Fallin would have benefited more politically from throwing Northrup under the bus sooner and the fact remains that Northrup is still an excellent political bargaining chip to be sacrificed to appease the Legislative leaders who have suffered from Northrup's abuse and disrespect over the last six years.

Because of those serious political blunders, embarrassments, and the political reality setting on Fallin, Denise was "demoted" to OMES with the intention of finding her a post-Fallin career and recovering what political capital remains for Fallin to use in the last 2 years. While there for less than five months Northrup has managed to alienate both the House and Senate and put Fallin's last 2 years in grave jeopardy. By irritating all members of both chambers, many legislators will be gleeful in a veto-override. Some are even claiming enough numbers to stand firm to kill any governor requested bill.

More serious for Fallin, is that Denise has alienated so many in leadership.  To the point the appearance of Northrup at a recent budget meeting led to Fallin's Chief of Staff Chris Benge being warned that another appearance of Northrup would result in both chambers locking the Governor's office out of budget negotiations for the remainder of the session. Benge has a very tall order to try and be allowed back at the negotiating table. 

Fallin, the quick study as always, realized the gravity of the dislike for Northrup and is now said to be frowning at the very mention of her former Chief of Staff's name.

Northrup might well serve Governor Fallin a final time as an unwilling sacrifice being thrown under the bus to appease House and Senate leadership.    Unlike an unwitting cow led to the sacrifice this bovine political hack will be dragged to her fate kicking and screaming and hurling her own signature style of profane abuse while the House and Senate look on with approval.

Being banished to a large salary in a do nothing job wasn't received well by Denise Northrup and she blamed her fate on conservatives and the Oklahoma House leadership and she's determined to maintain any shred of power.   Northrup reached back into her bag of tricks and pulled out a familiar one; according to OMES sources Northrup has overheard and have seen using OMES property and resources to seek endorsements, campaign, and raise funds for political newbie Brett Macey, the Governor's useful puppet for the Oklahoma County Sheriff race. 

And why is Northrup being so helpful?   In return for her help Denise Northrup's police officer husband is rumored to be getting the coveted Under Sheriff job should Brett Macey win the election.   Perhaps this is Fallin's appeasement and mollification of an aide that has served her for over 25 years.

Why is a NON ELECTED state employee actively campaigning, soliciting funds, and ignoring a multitude of moral, state ethics, and state laws? Is this behavior to be tolerated by OMES and the Governor yet still? We understand the politics involved, but taxpayer abuse is to never be tolerated, especially when a pattern of willful disregard for the people is evident.