Back in January of 2015, we first reported that State Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger – one of Mary Fallin’s most trusted advisors and the man overseeing our state’s budget calamity – was arrested on DUI-related charges after he was spotted having a drunken argument with a woman in a parked car near one of the 10 worst 7-Elevens in the Oklahoma City metro.
Because he’s not poor or a minority, has friends in very high places, and can afford an attorney, the charges against him were eventually lowered to a speeding ticket as part of a plea deal. The only catch is he had to go through assessment and treatment, attend DUI school and AA meetings, and maintain a clean driving record.
I’m not sure how the DUI school and AA meetings are going, but it looks like Doerflinger is struggling a bit with maintaining a clean driving record. Last week, he was ticketed by OHP in Tulsa for not wearing a seatbelt and driving with a revoked license stemming from his early arrest.
The Oklahoman‘s Nolan Clay has the details:
Finance secretary accused of driving after license revoked
Oklahoma’s secretary of finance, Preston Doerflinger, has been ticketed twice this month, accused of driving after his license was revoked and of not wearing a seat belt.
An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper issued the tickets after stopping Doerflinger, 44, about 8:20 a.m. June 13 in Tulsa County.
At the time of the stop, his driving privileges were considered revoked for 180 days by the Department of Public Safety, records show. The revocation began June 8.
Before we continue, are we really supposed to believe that he was pulled over for simply not wearing a seatbelt? I guess it could happen, but unless you’re a minority and they’re looking for an excuse to pull you over, cops rarely stop people for simply not wearing a seatbelt. It’s usually an add-on offense that accompanies another charge. Then again, cops seem to have a thing for Preston Doerflinger. We took a look at Doerflinger’s driving record on OSCN, and let’s just say he has a lot of experience talking to cops during traffic stops:
Wow. I know some of those charges are old, but that’s enough to give Flo from Progressive a mild panic attack. I drive fast and aggressive, and I’ve been pulled over for speeding about eight or so times in my 22 years on the road. Out of those occasions, I’ve only received two speeding tickets. None of them show up on OSCN. That kind of makes me wonder…
A) How many times Doerflinger has been pulled over?
B) How many off-the-book warnings has he received?
C) How many, if any, of the speeding tickets above were either lowered by the cop, or part of a fancy plea deal like the one he received last year?
Those are all fantastic questions that I would email to Doerflinger if he had the balls to respond. Now let’s get back to him driving around with a revoked license. I wonder how he explained that:
[Doerflinger’s] driving privileges were revoked by the Department of Public Safety because of his arrest in January 2015 in Oklahoma City. He was accused of being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. He later pleaded no contest to a municipal charge, which was reduced by agreement to speeding. […]
The attorney, Tony Coleman, said Doerflinger thought he legally still could drive at the time of the traffic stop. He said they had told the Department of Public Safety they were appealing the revocation.
“He’s not at fault at all,” the attorney said. “He and I both mistakenly believed he was OK to drive while it was being appealed. … I gave them my notice of appeal and mistakenly believed that we were fine until I could get it filed.”
Yep, Doerflinger is not at fault at all. It was all just a big mistake. I can see that. For example, check out the court order that revoked his license. It’s extremely complicated and confusing:
Oh… That’s actually very clear and straightforward. I don’t know about you, but if I received a letter like that in the mail I’d probably take it very seriously. Then again, I’m not an idiot who cruises around town at high rates of speed while not wearing a seatbelt, so what do I know.
Anyway, something tells me there’s more to this story. We’ll be in touch with Ogle Moles to try to figure out what really happened. In the meantime, I have a question: if we can’t count on Doerflinger to obey laws, wear a seatbelt, or pay attention to letters that clearly state his license is being revoked, how exactly can we trust him to oversee the state budget? The answer is we can’t. Mary Fallin needs to do the right thing (something I know she struggles with) and get rid of Preston Doerflinger. If his mishandling of the budget hasn’t convinced her yet, this latest incident should. The people of Oklahoma deserve better.