Oklahoma’s new transparency office is off to a very obscure start

It is to be expected that anytime Oklahoma legislators get a hair up their ass and decide to roll out some wild new plan, it will be bungled every step of the way. Usually, this kind of thing has something to do with guns or rejecting federal healthcare funding or making it impossible to fly with our current state ID.

Now, we’re talking about a brand new state agency that is allegedly committed to ‘transparency’ while completely eschewing the whole concept.

Tulsa World with the story:

Leaders of an Oklahoma legislative committee tasked with overseeing creation of a new watchdog budget office do not plan to publicly release details of who applied to be the office’s inaugural director.

Chairmen of the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency Oversight Committee declined this week to give The Oklahoman the names or applications of those who sought to lead the office.

State legislators appropriated $1.7 million this year to create a watchdog budget office to oversee state agency spending and performance — a top priority for Republican legislative leaders. Once fully staffed, the office will have a director to oversee about seven employees.

The irony is so thick that Alanis Morissette could write a massive comeback song based on it. There’s the obvious one, of course, where a state agency seeking to make Oklahoma’s financial dealings more transparent, yet they don’t want to disclose the people who are trying to actually head up the job. Ten bucks says it’s gonna end up being a former oil CEO/lobbyist, or some other disgraced or corrupt local political figure like Scott Pruitt.

The other, less obvious irony is that state Republicans are super stoked on spending nearly $2 million to fire up another agency that does something other agencies already do. The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector has an annual budget of $26.5 million and their job is literally in the title: audit and inspect the state budget. There are also several other state offices that exist to keep track of the coffers.

Obviously, this is a ploy to be used down the road along the lines of, “Wait, we’re spending how much money on mental health? Cut their budget!” For as much as local Republicans claim to loathe governmental interference, they all get hard-ons when the idea of inventing new bureaucracy in order to strip away agencies that function to actually help people who need it. That money’s gotta go somewhere, why not into somebody’s pocket than into organizations that aid the constituency?