BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
2/20/13 at 7:31 AM
State Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, has been on a sort of one-man crusade to rein in the seemingly extravagant purchases and travel of fellow Republican Insurance Commissioner John Doak, so far with mixed results.
A Coates measure that would have limited use of state aircraft to the governor, lieutenant governor and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, died without a hearing or vote in a Senate committee Monday.
Coates said he wrote the bill after learning that Doak has used state aircraft to crisscross the state to make personal appearances. Turns out Doak's use of state aircraft is second only to the governor's. By comparison, Doak's predecessor managed to do the job without ever using a state plane.
Doak has made appearances at disaster sites and brags that he is the only insurance commissioner in state history to visit all 77 counties each year. (He also outfitted his fraud unit with guns, gear and vehicles that would make an inner-city SWAT team envious.)
All this has Coates - and few others, apparently - wondering why all this travel is necessary, given that under the state Constitution and statutes Doak's job is to make sure that companies and individuals in the insurance business in Oklahoma are following state laws.
Could it be that Doak's busy travel schedule is just a way to campaign for re-election? If so, he ought to do it on his own dime.