NORMAN — We don’t expect any acceptance speeches or glowing press releases for Gov. Mary Fallin’s latest award. She received Freedom of Information Oklahoma’s annual “Black Hole Award” this past Saturday.
FOI Oklahoma — made up of journalists, lawyers and others who believe in governmental transparency — cited Fallin’s unprecedented use of “executive privilege” to hide records from the public.
Specifically, journalists have requested correspondence between her and others that lead to the decision to turn down federal expansion of Medicaid in Oklahoma.
The governor and her attorney, Steve Mullins, claim communications with her Cabinet members is privileged, an unprecedent claim for an administration that has touted its transparency.
Our sister newspaper, the Enid News & Eagle, was presented the Marian Opala First Amendment Award for its successful lawsuit supporting the public's First Amendment right of access to court records sealed by a local judge. The records involved the perjury case of a local attorney.
The Ben Blackstock Award went to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise for its work to make public video footage of an incident in which two local police officers were accused of assaulting a hospital patient.