The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

October 30, 2013

Felony bribery trial reveals inner workings of state Legislature

ENID, Okla. — The trial of a former Oklahoma lawmaker found guilty of felony bribery reveals how the sausage is made at the state Legislature.

Former state Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, was accused of offering a legislative colleague a job in exchange for a promise not to seek re-election.

A jury returned the verdict Tuesday, recommending a one-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine, the maximum amount, for the Alva native.

Terrill’s trial exposes the shady underbelly of our state’s political process, where lobbyists rule and temptations abound for abuse of power.

According to an affidavit filed in Oklahoma County in 2010, an investigator described how legislators insert language into bills during a session’s final weeks because “nobody can read the hundreds of bills they are voting on.”

Relying on the chaotic pressure of the ending session, “special” language is added with hopes it won’t be vetted out.

“We do it every session, that’s just the way it is,” noted one lobbyist in the affidavit. “You will destroy our way of life at the Capitol if the public learns of what it is really like in the last week.”

Manipulation, power and control rule the roost at 23rd and Lincoln. We hope Terrill’s conviction sends a clear message to legislators to check their motives and to represent the will of the people, not just lobbyists.

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