Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Gary Jones’ Five Most Shameful Lies

Republican Gary Jones is running for State Auditor of Oklahoma with the motto “an auditor you can trust.” So just how much can he be trusted?

I’m Lori McMahan, and I’m tired of the trash-talking, headline grabbing nonsense about my husband coming from Gary Jones and his supporters. Jeff has been advised to ignore these frantic efforts to tarnish his reputation since they’re an obvious attempt to gain traction in a race where Jones is hopelessly behind. They’ve told Jeff to remain on the positive message of his exceptional accomplishments as State Auditor. But I’m not going to sit by and let Jones drag a courageous, honest public servant through the mud with appalling lies and outlandish innuendoes. It would be almost impossible for me to respond to them all, but here are Gary’s five most shameful lies, along with the truth. Shame on you, Gary!

Jones Lie #1: The Abstractor Issue.

Jones says he’s behind in fundraising because he’s not accepting any donations from abstractors. Although the donations are not illegal, Jones said, he doesn’t think they’re right. “We are not taking any money from anybody we regulate,” Jones said. “When you regulate somebody, you need to make decisions based on the best interests of the citizens. When a large part of your contributions come from an industry you regulate, you may put yourself in a position to be influenced.”


Jones’ sanctimonious stance on this issue conveniently materialized only after it dawned on him that not a single abstractor in the state was willing to support him. In 2002, Jones burned those bridges when he bragged loudly and repeatedly that, if elected, he would “do away with abstracting,” and was openly soliciting and receiving funds from individuals and industries supporting the idea. Jones had also personally solicited abstractors for funds numerous times, but finally gave up when none would contribute, even after he threatened them. Who can blame abstractors for heavily supporting Jeff after Jones viciously attacked their industry and threatened their livelihood?

McMahan contributors are reminded when they contribute to Jeff’s campaign that what they’ll get in return is a public servant who will treat everyone equally and fairly. Jeff actively voiced his support to Governor Henry and the state legislature for the collective efforts of the Oklahoma Land Title Association and the Oklahoma Realtors Association to overhaul state laws regulating the abstracting industry. This finally led to the passage of House Bill 3009, which takes effect July 2007, and gives the Auditor the tools he needs to improve customer service and to prevent abuse of consumers by a few companies that give the rest of the industry a bad reputation.

Jones Lie #2: The Stipe Factor, Part A.

Jones has incessantly repeated the accusation that my husband accepted campaign donations from former Senator Gene Stipe and his family members and associates.


In this well-crafted invention, Jones carefully words his accusation in a manner that implies Jeff willingly seeks and accepts campaign contributions from people he knows to be convicted felons or targets of an ongoing investigation. In 2002, Jeff gratefully accepted legal campaign contributions from a wide variety of supporters, including Senator Stipe, with the unmistakable understanding the donations were an investment in nothing more than good government.

However, during Jeff’s 2002 campaign, Gene Stipe was not a felon and was not a former senator. He was a senior member of the Oklahoma Senate; revered by some, reviled by others. At that time, it had not been disclosed by investigators or by the media, and it was not known by the McMahan campaign or by any of the dozens of other statewide and local candidates who accepted Stipe-related contributions, that Stipe was even under investigation. During the 2006 election cycle, Jeff has neither solicited nor accepted any campaign contributions from Gene Stipe nor any of his family members or business associates.

Jones Lie #3: The Stipe Factor, Part B.

Jones says Jeff gave special treatment to associates of Stipe in exchange for financial support of his campaign, that Jeff allowed his office to be used for meetings involving “shady business deals that are currently under investigation” and has even suggested that Jeff has business ties to Stipe.


The record is clear with regard to how all contributors to Jeff’s campaign have been treated by the State Auditor in his first term; if any of them ever secretly thought they might benefit directly from contributing campaign funds, they now know they were sadly mistaken. No one has ever requested any favors or special treatment by Jeff or his staff, with or without an offer of financial consideration. The suggestion that Jeff would even consider such a request is absurd.

My husband is not, nor has he ever been financially involved or in business with, and has not received any form of compensation from anyone connected with these ludicrous allegations. Jeff has neither allowed his office to be used for any business deals, nor has he attended any such meetings.

It’s difficult for me to comprehend the nerve Jones has to make these ridiculous allegations when he knowingly solicited and received contributions, in this election cycle, from multiple persons who have been burned by Jeff’s fearless audits. For instance, Jones' own contribution reports show he took money from a western Oklahoma official named along with several other Hinton residents in a scam to bilk taxpayers of over $7.5 million in a fraudulent get-rich economic development scam. Months after the investigation became public knowledge and even after his grand jury indictment was announced, Kenneth Doughty handed over a contribution to help fund Jones' lie-filled campaign against Jeff. Why? Because it was Jeff who uncovered the Doughty scheme and turned the information over to prosecutors.

Accepting legal campaign contributions from individuals who later become the targets of an investigation or are later indicted is one thing, but it’s quite another to knowingly solicit and accept money from someone after it’s known they have already been indicted by a grand jury, which is exactly what Jones has done.

Jones Lie #4: Imaginary Employee Arm-Twisting

Jones has said as State Auditor and Inspector he will not accept donations from anyone he employs. He claims Jeff and others harassed employees in the office to support his campaign, and that they would be fired if they didn’t.


A few disgruntled, unproductive and disruptive former employees have fueled this lie. But Jeff’s had no takers on his offer to open personnel files and/or discuss the termination circumstances of any former employees who are willing to sign a privacy release. It was easy for these malcontents to make phony allegations about their former employer when they knew all along Jeff couldn’t prove they lied without breaking laws barring employers from disclosing information about employees, former or otherwise. But it now appears the former employees who misrepresented themselves are unwilling to risk exposure of the truth behind their departures from the State Auditor’s office.

Jeff’s primary employment policy has always been to hire and retain qualified, industrious, effective public servants. Many dozens of long-term agency employees currently work for my husband, even though they have never volunteered any time or money to his campaign. Jeff has not, nor would he ever condone any form of pressure on anyone to support his campaign. While Jeff’s flattered to know that some agency employees believe in him so strongly they are supporting his campaign, they know it has no impact on their employment status.

Examples of Jeff's impartial treatment of employees who didn’t support his campaign include the fact that after he was elected, he retained Rod Dillard - an honest, hard working and very competent employee. Yet, Rod had actually run against Jeff for the 2002 Democratic nomination for the office. Rod remained at the State Auditor's office for more than a year after Jeff took office, before leaving on good terms for better opportunities.

Angie Welch is another case in point. She supported John Fodge for the Democratic nomination for state auditor in 2002. Yet Angie remains a member of Jeff’s staff today, and was recently promoted to a supervisory position due to her exemplary work in the performance of her duties.

Jones Lie #5: Jeff’s Qualifications.

Recent TV campaign ads aired by Jones assert Jeff “can’t even count to ten” and offers as evidence a video clip showing Jeff counting his fingers, skipping the number six. The ad goes on to say that Jeff isn’t qualified to be the auditor because he isn’t a CPA.


As an elementary teacher, I can assure you Jeff can actually count to ten. In fact, he’s occasionally even counted higher than that – let’s take a quick look at some of the more notable counts Jeff has made:

200,000,000 = Approximate dollar amount in government fraud, waste and abuse exposed by Jeff’s audits in the last 4 years.

1,300,000 = Approximate dollar amount cut from Jeff’s budget in his first year in office.

1,400 = The number of audits produced by Jeff’s office during his first term, more than any other 4 year period in state history, in spite of those cuts to his own budget.

14 = Number of years experience Jeff gained under previous State Auditor Clifton Scott, who endorsed Jeff as his replacement, recognizing Jeff’s hard work, outstanding abilities and tough mentality in performing hundreds of audits across the state.

7 = Number of years Jeff served as manager of the Investigative Audit Division under Mr. Scott.

2 = Number of times over the last 4 years Jeff has been honored by his peers with national recognition for his accomplishments as Oklahoma’s State Auditor.

To be completely fair, I have noticed Jeff has lost the ability to count the number of toes he’s stepped on or enemies he’s made as a result of his tough audits. Now let’s look at a few numbers with which Gary Jones should be quite familiar:

160,000 = Approximate dollar amount Comanche County Commissioners were forced to strip out of the district's general operating funds in 1999 to replace federal grant money that mysteriously disappeared or was mismanaged under Jones’ watch in a brief stint as District 3 Commissioner.

100,000 = Approximate dollar amount Gary improperly paid himself from corporate funds over a two-year period, according to court-ordered audit in a lawsuit filed against him by a former business partner.

100 = Approximate dollar amount left in reserve after Jones’ apparent mishandling of public funds nearly bankrupted the Comanche County district he served, leaving it far short of the amount required by law to be maintained in the fund.

1 = Number of terms Gary Jones served as Comanche County Commissioner before voters realized their mistake and voted him back out of office.

0 = Number of government audits conducted by Gary Jones. Also, the amount of experience Jones has in public practice as a CPA.

As for that video clip, in December 2002, Jeff and I were present at what Jones describes as a “family Christmas party,” although attended by more than 1,100 people (wow, big family!) at which master hypnotist Dr. Don White was a paid entertainer. Jeff good-naturedly agreed to join about a dozen volunteers on stage, where Dr. White induced hypnosis and then suggested to Jeff that the number six was not in his vocabulary. It was one of many effective and entertaining stunts performed that evening, one which Dr. White has said is most humorous when he has a “victim” with an accounting or math-related profession. However, Gary Jones knows this material is the proprietary property of Dr. White. He also knows the tape was acquired underhandedly. Jones is now broadcasting a segment he’s taken out of context, and has twisted it in a pathetic attempt to gain unethical advantage in a race for a public office that, by its very nature, requires strong ethical standards.


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