NAPC Threat­ened for Re­port­ing Pub­lic Bids

Trillions - - In This Issue -

The Ok­la­homa En­ergy Re­sources Board (OERB) has threat­ened the North Amer­ica Pro­cure­ment Coun­cil with le­gal ac­tion un­less the NAPC stops re­port­ing on bids from the board.

In late Au­gust, Mr. Thomas P. Gore­son, an at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the OERB, sent a let­ter to Tim Lon­car­ich, CEO of the NAPC. In his let­ter, he said, “The OERB de­mands that Ok­la­homa Bid Net­work cease post­ing on its web­site any projects of the OERB” and that “in the event your com­pany fails to com­ply with this de­mand, the OERB will pur­sue ap­pro­pri­ate le­gal ac­tion, in­clud­ing dam­ages, in­junc­tive re­lief, at­tor­ney’s fees and costs.”

For those read­ing this who are con­cerned that the NAPC will stop post­ing such bids and deny con­trac­tors the right to know about such op­por­tu­ni­ties, you can be re­as­sured. Mr. Lon­car­ich has no­ti­fied Mr. Gore­son that the NAPC in­tends to con­tinue to post bids pub­licly ad­ver­tised by the OERB.

As back­ground, ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, “The Ok­la­homa En­ergy Re­sources Board (ab­bre­vi­ated as OERB) is an agency of the state of Ok­la­homa. Funded vol­un­tar­ily by Ok­la­homa’s oil and nat­u­ral gas pro­duc­ers and roy­alty own­ers." The OERB re­me­di­ates or­phaned and aban­doned well sites and pro­motes the oil and gas in­dus­try. The board was cre­ated by the state of Ok­la­homa as part of the Ok­la­homa En­ergy Ed­u­ca­tion and Mar­ket­ing Act and was signed into law dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Ok­la­homa gov­er­nor David Wal­ters. The wind and so­lar en­ergy in­dus­try are not rep­re­sented by the board and some of the in­for­ma­tion dis­pensed by the board is con­sid­ered by many to be fos­sil fuel in­dus­try pro­pa­ganda.

As the OERB notes on its web­site, quoted based on in­for­ma­tion pub­licly posted there on Au­gust 24, 2017, it is an Ok­la­homa “state agency.” Its pri­or­i­ties stated there are ad­mirable; the web­site states that “the sin­gle largest bud­get al­lo­ca­tion goes to­ward en­vi­ron­men­tal restora­tion.” It also states that “pub­lic and stu­dent ed­u­ca­tion to­gether make up the sec­ond great­est ex­pen­di­ture.”

As to the OERB’S fund­ing, it is paid for by (again as it says on its web­site) “a vol­un­tary one-tenth of one per­cent as­sess­ment on the sale of oil and nat­u­ral gas in Ok­la­homa, paid for by oil and nat­u­ral gas pro­duc­ers and roy­alty own­ers.” The web­site says that “ma­jor oil com­pa­nies, large and small in­de­pen­dents and roy­alty own­ers all con­trib­ute an equal share (one-tenth of one per­cent) to sup­port the OERB in its en­vi­ron­men­tal and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams.” As with other state agen­cies, the funds for this one are col­lected by the state and then dis­trib­uted back to the agency for use. As the OERB notes, “The as­sess­ment is re­mit­ted to the Ok­la­homa Tax Com­mis­sion in the same man­ner as is re­quired by law for the pay­ment of gross pro­duc­tion tax.” The OERB there­fore acts like other state agen­cies, even in this re­spect, us­ing pub­licly-funded sys­tems to help col­lect taxes and dis­trib­ute them as ap­pro­pri­ate and as de­fined by law.

Un­like most gov­ern­ment agen­cies, the OERB is in­dus­try run­ning a gov­ern­ment agency for its own pur­poses.

Its web­site states that “rep­re­sen­ta­tion is di­vided be­tween in­de­pen­dent oil and nat­u­ral gas com­pa­nies, ma­jor oil and nat­u­ral gas com­pa­nies, petroleum pur­chasers and roy­alty own­ers.”

The OERB’S chair­man is Danny Mor­gan, who is also the pres­i­dent of Mor­gan Well Ser­vice Inc. and Dig­ger

Oil and Gas Co. The vice-chair is Mike Mcdon­ald, coowner of Triad En­ergy, Inc. The sec­re­tary is Wade Hutch­ings, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion for Devon En­ergy.

Be­cause it is a state agency, the OERB must by law pub­licly ad­ver­tise its bids. When ac­tu­ally put into prac­tice, this re­quire­ment en­sures that the state agency in­volved will be able to award con­tracts at the best value to the peo­ple.

In this, the state of Ok­la­homa, the OERB state agency and Ok­la­homabids.com, on be­half of the NAPC, all share a com­mon vi­sion of mak­ing the best use of tax dol­lars for projects funded by the state. For the NAPC, as stated on its web­site at (napc.pro), “One of our goals is to pro­vide pub­lic and pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions with the best pos­si­ble e-pur­chas­ing plat­form and pro­vide sup­pli­ers free and open ac­cess to pub­lic pro­cure­ment so­lic­i­ta­tions in order to stream­line the pro­cure­ment process, re­duce costs to tax­pay­ers, im­prove the qual­ity of sup­pli­ers’ ser­vices and help stim­u­late lo­cal and na­tional economies.”

What the OERB ap­par­ently re­acted to, ac­cord­ing to its let­ter from Mr. Gore­son , the group’s at­tor­ney, was in­ac­cu­ra­cies in some of the bid data on Ok­la­homabids. com. As he noted in his let­ter to Mr. Lon­car­ich, Mr. Gore­son said: “The OERB has con­tacted your com­pany on sev­eral oc­ca­sions ad­vis­ing you about your in­ac­cu­rate post­ing of in­for­ma­tion on Ok­la­homa Bid Net­work. Your web­site has posted in­cor­rect bid dates, in­cor­rect con­tact in­for­ma­tion and in­cor­rect de­scrip­tions of the scope of work for projects. Ok­la­homa Bid Net­work has ac­knowl­edged its fail­ure to post cor­rect in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to bids on the OERB’S projects. How­ever, de­spite the OERB’S re­peated de­mands that Ok­la­homa Bid Net­work no longer post the OERB’S bid in­for­ma­tion on its web­site, your com­pany con­tin­ues to post er­ro­neous in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing OERB projects.”

Mr. Gore­son’s state­ment is sim­ply false.

Mr. Lon­car­ich re­sponded to Mr. Gore­son’s let­ter in writ­ing to clar­ify the NAPC’S role and po­si­tion on this mat­ter as well as the truth about the er­rors men­tioned by Mr. Gore­son. In that let­ter, Mr. Lon­car­ich said:

“Please note that the web­site at Ok­la­homabids.com is owned by the peo­ple of Ok­la­homa. The North Amer­ica Pro­cure­ment Coun­cil, Inc. PBC (NAPC) is a pub­lic ben­e­fit cor­po­ra­tion that merely ad­min­is­ters the site on be­half of the peo­ple of Ok­la­homa. Start­ing in 2020 we will be seek­ing an Ok­la­homa based en­tity to take on the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

It is true that we had pre­vi­ously made an er­ror or two in our re­ports on the bid ad­ver­tise­ments from the Ok­la­homa En­ergy Re­sources Board (OERB), and I had ini­tially agreed to tem­po­rar­ily stop post­ing bids from the OERB. Af­ter fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion and con­sul­ta­tion with some of the own­ers of Ok­la­homabids.com, it was de­cided to con­tinue to post the OERB’S data. I should have in­formed the OERB of our in­ten­tions but [was un­able to for a short time be­cause of ill­ness] and ne­glected to as­sign the task to some­one else.

Please be hereby ad­vised that we will con­tinue to pub­lish in­for­ma­tion re­lated to the OERB, as is our right un­der the First Amend­ment of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, and that my pre­vi­ous state­ment to not pub­lish the data is re­scinded.

Your state­ment that we have con­tin­ued to “post er­ro­neous in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing OERB projects” is false. When one com­pares our re­port with the in­for­ma­tion pub­licly ad­ver­tised by the OERB, there is no er­ro­neous in­for­ma­tion. Pre­vi­ous er­rors were cor­rected shortly af­ter we be­came aware of them, and mea­sures were taken to en­sure that fur­ther er­rors were not made. We have pub­lished a to­tal of 140 re­ports on OERB go­ing back to 2006 bids and as far as I know only two had er­rors.

One of the er­rors we had pre­vi­ously was due to the Ok­la­homa Press As­so­ci­a­tion re­pub­lish­ing an old bid ad as new, so that er­ror was not en­tirely our fault.

The NAPC pub­lishes the pro­cure­ment so­lic­i­ta­tions from most gov­ern­ment agen­cies in the U.S. and Canada and ex­pects to pub­lish more than 800,000 re­ports this year. While we make ev­ery ef­fort to only pub­lish cor­rect and com­plete in­for­ma­tion, some­times our data en­try staff do make er­rors. To help en­sure that er­rors are iden­ti­fied and cor­rected we now have a but­ton on our re­port form to no­tify us of an er­ror or an up­date needed. Users can also use our con­tact form or call or fax us.

If we do pub­lish any in­for­ma­tion on an OERB project that is not ac­cu­rate or needs to be up­dated, we would be more than happy to cor­rect it im­me­di­ately.

Since our par­ent com­pany was founded in 2001, none of the 279,309 project own­ers we have pub­lished bid re­ports on has ever threat­ened to sue us for pub­lish­ing in­for­ma­tion on their pub­lic bids and most value the pub­lic ser­vice we pro­vide. So, it is rather strange that the OERB is threat­en­ing to sue us.

Be­cause OERB does not seem to ad­ver­tise its bids widely, our­pub­lishin­go­fo­erb­bid­sisan­im­por­tant­pub­lic ser­vice be­cause it re­sults in more and higher qual­ity bid­ders and lower po­ten­tial cost to OERB. This means that more well sites can be cleaned up more quickly.

The ben­e­fit cer­tainly out­weighs the mi­nor nui­sance of any pre­vi­ous er­rors in our data. There­fore, the de­mands of the OERB that we not pub­lish in­for­ma­tion about their bids is un­rea­son­able and not in the best in­ter­ests of the peo­ple of Ok­la­homa or the OERB.

At this point I as­sume that you are just mak­ing an empty threat of lit­i­ga­tion on be­half of an un­in­formed em­ployee of the OERB who is pur­su­ing their own in­ter­ests. If you are re­ally se­ri­ous about vi­o­lat­ing the First Amend­ment and the civil rights of the peo­ple of Ok­la­homa and en­gag­ing in tor­tious in­ter­fer­ence, I strongly rec­om­mend that you first clear it with At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mike Hunter and Gov­er­nor Fallin. They may be fa­mil­iar with the First Amend­ment and the rights of the press and want to avoid a po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing counter-suit.

If it is your in­ten­tion to pur­sue lit­i­ga­tion against us, please let me know so that I can no­tify our 2.5 mil­lion users and as­sem­ble an ef­fec­tive le­gal team for a counter-suit. Such a case should be of na­tional in­ter­est and presents timely and im­por­tant is­sues wor­thy of pub­lic at­ten­tion. The First Amend­ment is well founded and there are a vast num­ber of cases to sup­port our eas­ily de­fen­si­ble po­si­tion.

If it is not your in­ten­tion to fol­low through on your threats, then you might want to en­cour­age the OERB to send us their bid ad­ver­tise­ments di­rectly or use our free and easy-to-use e-pro­cure­ment sys­tem that puts them in full con­trol of their data and en­ables them to eas­ily dis­play pro­cure­ment data from their own web­site, as they should already be do­ing.

The work of the OERB is im­por­tant and needs to be done in an open, ef­fec­tive and trans­par­ent man­ner that re­sults in the best value to in­dus­try and gets more well sites cleaned up more quickly.

Please en­sure that all OERB Board mem­bers re­ceive a copy of this let­ter.”

On be­half of both the NAPC and the users of Ok­la­homabids.com, and for the ben­e­fit of the peo­ple of Ok­la­homa, Mr. Lon­car­ich in­tends to con­tinue pub­lish­ing bids issued by the state of Ok­la­homa and its agen­cies on the Ok­la­homabids.com web­site. It will con­tinue to re­port on all the bid op­por­tu­ni­ties it can find.

The NAPC has been in dis­cus­sions with The Ruther­ford In­sti­tute about the case and they have of­fered to pro­vide le­gal ser­vices if fur­ther ac­tion is needed. The Ruther­ford In­sti­tute is a non­profit civil lib­er­ties or­ga­ni­za­tion based in Char­lottesville, VA that

is deeply com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the con­sti­tu­tional free­doms of ev­ery Amer­i­can and the in­te­gral hu­man rights of all peo­ple

This case clearly demon­strates how the in­creased in­flu­ence of in­dus­try over gov­ern­ment sub­verts the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion and turns gov­ern­ment against the peo­ple.

In a democ­racy, gov­ern­ment reg­u­lates in­dus­try and bal­ances the needs of the peo­ple against the needs of in­dus­try. In an oli­garchy, pow­er­ful in­dus­tries and wealthy in­di­vid­u­als reg­u­late gov­ern­ment for their own self-in­ter­ests and against the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple.

The U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion is what makes Amer­ica great and pre­vented us from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism of Nazi Ger­many, the Soviet Union and China, but it can only pre­vail if we con­tinue to de­fend it.

If we the peo­ple don’t de­fend our Con­sti­tu­tion against its en­e­mies, we will end up liv­ing in a cor­po­rate fas­cist po­lice state with no rights.

For those un­fa­mil­iar with the First Amend­ment:

Con­gress shall make no law re­spect­ing an es­tab­lish­ment of re­li­gion, or pro­hibit­ing the free ex­er­cise thereof; or abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the peo­ple peace­ably to as­sem­ble, and to pe­ti­tion the Gov­ern­ment for a re­dress of griev­ances.

This means that ev­ery Amer­i­can is free to re­port on any pub­lic bid and any­one who tries to stop them is vi­o­lat­ing their rights.

The purest form of pa­tri­o­tism is de­fense of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion be­cause it is the foun­da­tion of what is great about the coun­try.

Sup­port­ing those who seek to un­der­mine the Con­sti­tu­tion and our rights is not at all pa­tri­otic but is in­stead sub­ver­sive, just like com­mu­nists, an­ar­chists, fas­cists and Is­lamic ji­hadists are sub­ver­sives. En­e­mies of the Con­sti­tu­tion are in­deed en­e­mies of the peo­ple, even if they are cor­po­ra­tions or politi­cians.

Many Amer­i­cans have aligned them­selves with po­lit­i­cal move­ments that are in re­al­ity sub­vert­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion while claim­ing to put Amer­ica first. You sim­ply can’t sup­port Amer­ica by un­der­min­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion.

We the peo­ple of the United States need to wake the hell up and re­al­ize that we can’t give con­trol of our gov­ern­ment to cor­po­ra­tions and still ex­pect to live in a free coun­try.

Im­age by Par­en­trap, CC

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