Governor-Elect's Staff Not Obligated to File Disclosures

Jan 10, 2019

 

Credit State of Oklahoma

 

Kevin Stitt's appointees to his administration need not disclose their personal finances under the state's ethics policy, although the Oklahoma governor-elect will have to reveal details of his own riches within 30 days of taking office.

Stitt, who founded Gateway Mortgage Group LLC and campaigned on his business experience, plucked many of his appointees from the private sector, The Oklahoman reported . State ethics rules were changed in 2015 to require only elected officials to make personal financial disclosures.

Among Stitt's appointees is Sean Kouplen, who will be the Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development. Kouplen has said he will retain his job as chairman and CEO of Regent Bank in Tulsa, and will not accept a state salary.

Stitt's chief operating officer will be John Budd, a former executive at Sonic Corp. Kenneth Wagner, who is Stitt's pick for Secretary of Energy and the Environment, comes from the Environmental Protection Agency and was a business partner of former EPA director Scott Pruitt.

Andy Moore, the executive director of Freedom of Information Oklahoma, a nonprofit organization encouraging open government, said he hopes Stitt's plan to bring personal transparency is an example for his staff, even if they're not mandated to file similar disclosures.

"It will be the governor who needs to set the tone for his staff and hold everyone accountable," Moore said.

According to Oklahoma Watch, the governor-elect has asked the state's attorney general to review his plan to step back from Gateway Mortgage as it transitions into a bank. He has also asked the prosecutor's office to review a conflict-of-interest policy for his family investments.