"Protecting Oklahoma Values" and its bogus claims against Katie Henke

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An unknown, untraceable organization called "Protecting Oklahoma Values" has sent three postcards to voters in support of Oklahoma House District 71 Democrat candidate Dan Arthrell and attacking Republican nominee Katie Henke. The District 71 seat is the ballot next Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Dan Sullivan.

Apparently unable to find anything negative about Henke personally or poiltically, the shadowy group behind the postcards seek to label the female candidate in the race as the anti-woman candidate by linking her to what is described as a "disgusting pattern of behavior towards women" by "the right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol."

The postcards supporting Arthrell make a series of claims, most of which are accompanied by footnotes with long URLs, which add credibility, but which are too long to tempt a voter to type them in order to compare assertions to reality.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "tried to cut funding to a Tulsa County program that provides nutrition for women and their children."

FACT: No source material was identified to back up this assertion.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "passed a law saying that birth is not a qualifying event for health coverage."

FACT: The item linked in the footnote is an emergency rule issued by the Insurance Department, not a law passed by the legislature. The rule deals only with "child-only" medical insurance policies and an adjustment in language to encourage more insurance companies to participate in the next open enrollment period and to write child-only medical policies in Oklahoma:

The lack of participation by insurers in the 2011 open enrollment period necessitates change to the rule in an effort to encourage insurers to participate in the 2012 open enrollment periods. During an open enrollment period, children under the age of nineteen (19) shall be offered coverage on a guaranteed issue basis, without any limitations or riders based on health status.

So the Republican Insurance Commissioner was trying to encourage more options for all children to have medical coverage.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "passed laws that may restrict women's access to infertility treatments and are forcing women to have invasive ultra sounds."

FACT: The first half of the statement refers to a claim by an infertility doctor that personhood legislation would hurt his business. One personhood bill, SB 1433, passed the Senate and is pending in the House. The other, HJR1067, which would put a constitutional amendment before the voters, appears to be dead for this session.

The second half of the statement refers to the 2010 law requiring that an ultrasound showing the unborn child be done prior to an abortion. The claim that an ultrasound is invasive is ludicrous compared to the invasiveness of the instruments used to scald, poison, and dismember an unborn child in an abortion.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "required personal information about women's gynecological history be reported to state agencies."

FACT: The footnote refers to the Statistical Abortion Reporting Act, 63 O.S. 1-738, which requires an abortion provider to submit a form to the State Department of Health for each abortion and a separate form for any abortion resulting in medical complications. The forms do not contain personally identifying information about the former mother on whom the abortion was performed. The purpose of the law is to gather accurate and complete statistical information about abortion in Oklahoma.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "continued to take away local control from our schools, interfering in our decisions about the education of our children."

FACT: The link is to a story about Tulsa Metro Chamber President Mike Neal, complaining about the prospect of the State Department of Education bringing in outside management to fix low-performing Hale High School in Tulsa. If our schools can't meet minimum standards, what does it say about "our decisions about the education of our children?" And what about the Democrats and local school officials who oppose school choice and sued to toss out the Lindsay Nicole Henry Scholarship law? Aren't they interfering in parents' decisions about the best education for their children?

The postcard goes on to try to plant blame on Katie Henke for the vulgar email sent by an insurance department employee (he was fired for his offense) and out-of-context comments by State Rep. Sean Roberts and State Rep. Sally Kern.

The postcards bear a strong resemblance to those sent out by an anonymous group in last year's Tulsa City Council election. Could the postcards be an act of revenge by a Republican political consultant against a Republican candidate that didn't purchase the consultant's services or an attempt to clear the way for a consultant-backed Republican candidate to run against Arthrell, who would, as a Democrat, be vulnerable in the regular general election in November? (NOTE: Consultant Fount Holland phoned to say that his firm had nothing to do with these mailers, and that in fact his firm is involved with independent expenditures in support of Katie Henke, and that he would never be involved with a pro-abortion or anti-pro-life mailer.)

A lifelong Tulsan, Katie Henke is a school teacher and is active in Tulsa civic organizations. As a Republican in an overwhelmingly Republican legislature, Henke would be in a much better position than Arthrell, a Democrat who would be part of a tiny minority, to influence legislation at the State Capitol.

UPDATE: Current speculation among insiders is that this mailer is the work of Democratic consultants, former Democratic operatives within the state party and state legislative apparatus.

MORE 2012/04/05: Ethics filings show that Protecting Oklahoma Values was organized on March 24 (Kimberly Grayson, chairman, Reid Nichols, treasurer), with the purpose of "To run an independent expenditure in HD 71." It was funded by George Krumme ($5,000 on March 26), Anthony Laizure ($1,000 on March 29), and Ed Abel ($2,000 on April 2). The funds were spent with Heartland Media of Oklahoma City: $4,186.16 for mail on March 27 and $1,000.00 for phones on March 30.

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For your convenience, here is a list of the candidates I've endorsed, will be voting for, or otherwise recommend in the June 26, 2012, Oklahoma Republican primary. Early voting is already underway; as this is a Federal election, early voting ("in-perso... Read More


Graychin said:

The postcards lack credibility because they don't attack Katie Henke personally? Is that what you mean to say?

Since Ms. Henke has chosen to run as a Republican, it seems reasonable to assume that she is allied with much of what the legislature is doing about social issues. Unless she has said otherwise - which she has not, to my knowledge.

And you conclude that all this is the work of... Democrats? No s***, Sherlock!

The mailers are a caricature of reality, as I think I've shown by comparing the carefully spun phrases from the postcards, meant to create a distorted picture, to the actual legislation mentioned in the footnotes.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 31, 2012 2:47 PM.

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