The Board of Directors of Oklahomans for Responsible Government has voted unanimously to close down the non-profit group, they announced in a press release provided to Tulsa Today. Effective December 31st, the transparency group is history, but they leave the field with a significant legacy.
“The combination of a tough economy and an election cycle that collected millions in donations has created a climate where a non-profit organization finds it hard to raise funds,” said OFRG Communications Director and Projects Manager Peter J. Rudy. “While I believe that the cause of transparency and fiscal responsibility is important, contributions are needed to continue these causes and the support is not available for 2011.”
OFRG was created in January of 2008. Since then, it has helped bring the issue of open government to the forefront of discussions at the State Capitol. It was OFRG that first advocated for an upgrade of the state’s spending website to Open Books 2.0. Through projects like the Blueprint for Transparency series that looked at school district and municipal websites, taxpayers have benefited because more information is now available online.
In addition to improving transparency in state government, OFRG also helped defeat State Question 744 by creating the first website devoted to presenting the facts about the ballot measure and making presentations around the state. Two ballot measures approved by voters were part of OFRG’s policy agenda: State Question 747 that imposes term limits on all statewide elected officials and State Question 750 which makes Oklahoma’s ballot access law less stringent. We believe this shows that Oklahomans want a more transparent and responsible government.
“I am very proud of the work OFRG has done in such a short time,” said Rudy. “It shows what can happen when dedicated people work together to make a difference.”
"Reporters and editors statewide will miss this conservative group," said David Arnett, Publisher of Tulsa Today and host of The David Arnett Show on AM 740 and FM 102.3 news, talk, KRMG. "Transparency in government activity is increasingly important and significantly complicated. While media filled the transparency gap between government and the public in the early days of the Republic, the ideology of newsrooms is increasingly shown to be left leaning if not Marxist and, therefore, selective in coverage. Organizations like OFRG are necessary to fund investigations of issues media would prefer not to question and to take the public stands on controversial topics of public concern."
“It is not easy to stand tall in the storm of public debate and OFRG did so with honor,” Arnett added.
Starting January 3rd, Rudy will be the new editor of Oklahoma Watchdog, a non-profit investigative reporting and analysis website which will be the new home of the Blueprint for Transparency series. Former Executive Director Brian Downs left OFRG last month to become Policy Director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.