Sunday: Lawmaker cites 'frivolous spending' by Doak
BY By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau & CASEY SMITH World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 02, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY — Motivational books.
Chamber of commerce memberships.
Those are just a few of the items purchased by the office of state Insurance Commissioner John Doak.
Sen. Harry Coates, an outspoken critic of the insurance commissioner, said the purchases look like “frivolous spending, at the very least.”
Coates, R-Seminole, said the agency’s huge expenses for advertising and memberships to various chambers of commerce have nothing to do with regulating the insurance industry.
Coates accused Doak of using his office to campaign.
“All of our expenses have been in line with the constitutional duties of the Oklahoma Insurance Department and consistent with educating the public as to what OID does,” said Kelly Collins, a spokeswoman for the agency.
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services provided the Tulsa World with a list of the agency’s credit card purchases in response to an open records request. The analysis is for 2011 and 2012.
Doak took office in January 2011. The Insurance Department has about 130 employees.
The agency spent at least $2,000 with Barnes and Noble for copies of “Who Moved My Cheese,” a best-selling motivational book on how to deal with change.
The books were given to employees for training, Collins said.
The agency also spent thousands for various publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Sequoyah County Times, Tulsa World, New York Times, The Economist, Tulsa Beacon, World Magazine, El Latino American, Woodward News, The Oklahoman, The Journal Record, Woodward News, World Magazine and the Durant Daily Democrat.
The agency spent at least $6,817 with various chambers of commerce across the state, including the state, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ada, Vinita, Lawton and Ardmore.
“These memberships, luncheons and events are vital to keeping staff informed of insurance issues affecting Oklahomans,” Collins said.
It spent at least $27,537 on uniforms for the agency’s seven-member anti-fraud unit and employee clothing.
Read more in Sunday's World.
Insurance Commissioner John Doak