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Q: A Research Project for Political Lobbying Purposes ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: A Research Project for Political Lobbying Purposes
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: solania-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 07 May 2004 09:21 PDT
Expires: 06 Jun 2004 09:21 PDT
Question ID: 342747
Please compile a list of the top ten or more best Oklahoma State
attorneys who have a favorable affiliation with Oklahoma Governor Brad
Henry.  This is to find the most effective advocate with the best
chances of successful outcome.  Please exclude the members of Henry's
own law firm.  Research all matters of public record as extensively as
possible, and be creative.  Dig deep and think Outside The Box.

The Governor practiced in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and has his roots there. 
The final selection of attorneys may have roots in Shawnee, but not
necessarily.  Look heavily at Oklahoma City, also, plus anywhere else
in the state.

What attorneys were associated with Governor Henry's surprisingly
successful campaign?  Are they affiliated with him in the Democrat
Party?  Was an attorney his campaign manager, or associated with the
campaign manager and/or key campaign staff?  Did any attorney actively
campaign for him as a matter of public record?  Host any events? 
Campaign for contributions?

What attorneys have a college affiliation with the Governor? 
Fraternity brothers?  A known long history of friendship or
association going back to college days, or before or since?

Have you found some familial relationship?  For example, is a
practicing Oklahoma attorney his cousin, or a relative of his wife?

Any church association?  What church does Governor Henry attend (or
did he previously attend) and were any other attorneys associated with
him this way?

What organizations or clubs has Brad Henry belonged to?  Is he an Elk
or a Moose or something?  Any lawyers associated with Henry in this

What attorneys are known to have worked with Governor Henry on some
important project in the past?  Was there a favorable outcome, was
their association reputed to be amicable and effective?

During the process of this investigation, you will uncover information
about Governor Brad Henry's own profile.  I will consider whatever
information you uncover to be helpful.  Please provide me with as
thorough a synopsis of the Governor's legal and political profile as
you can.

When compiling this list, please give me as much information as you
possibly can about the candidates.  Please include the attorney's
names and contact information and how you determined that the attorney
belonged on this list.  What is their specialty of law practice?  Use
your best judgement, and based upon your research compile the list in
descending order with number one being the best option in your opinion
and why.  Give me as much of a biography of the candidates as you
possibly can.  What are the lawyer's political associations, what
organizations are they affiliated with? Have they made any strong
public stands on some subject of passionate interest?  What are these
people all about?

If I am pleased with your results, there may be further research. 
Thank you for all your help.
Subject: Re: A Research Project for Political Lobbying Purposes
Answered By: nancylynn-ga on 09 May 2004 18:55 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello solania-ga:

I'll give you the list first, then explain how I weeded my way through
my research to assemble it.

I must admit that, like most researchers, I usually avoid questions
that ask for a listing of the "ten best" or "100 best," etc., etc.

But I did find enough information to confidentially list ten
lawyers/firms that have a connection to Governor Henry and/or his
administration. (I have also noted some other attorneys with some ties
to Henry, although, unlike my top ten list, I can't be certain how
solid those links are.)

Hyperlinks under the following names lead to contact information,
specialty areas of practice, and mini-biographies. (There's additional
information on some of these lawyers in the explanation of my
research, below. )

You asked me to exclude former law partners of Henry's, but it's
impossible for me not to cite John Canavan (so I'll make him a bonus

Henry's former law partner, now Shawnee City Attorney:
Canavan appears to be one of Henry's dearest friends, and he also served as
co-manager of Henry's gubernatorial campaign.

The Top Ten:

Terry West:
"Uncle Terry" to Governor Henry:
The West Law Firm in Shawnee:
Specializes in personal injury, wrongful death, defective drugs.

West is "Oklahoma Liaison to the national breast implant litigation and is
currently serving as co-lead counsel of the Oklahoma Hepatitis litigation."

Here's a Nov. 2, 2003 story detailing the settlement
West obtained "in a class-action lawsuit [that] would award patients who
contracted hepatitis C after being infected at one of three pain management
clinics . . . ."

In 2000, West was inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers:

Richard Bell:
The Bell family has long been close to the Henry family, and Richard Bell
remains active in politics despite his ethical violations during
then-Governor, now U.S. Senator, Walter's 1990 campaign.
Contact information, for Bell, who specializes in workers' compensation:

Jim Loftis, president of the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association:

See his contact information -- and a Martindale-Hubbell biography of him -- 

Gary L. Brooks:
He's a Republican and a malpractice lawyer, yet Henry appointed Brooks to
head the board that oversees OK doctors --despite objections from doctors
and from Lt. Governor Fallin.
See this June 25, 2003 Shawnee News-Star article:

Here's a link to Brooks' law firm:

The firm of Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison and Lewis:

The firm covers a wide spectrum of practice areas:

Former OK Attorney General Michael Turpen is a supporter of OK's current AG,
Drew Edmondson. See this August 30, 2003 article, "Okla. AG: Telecom case
not biased: Friend, campaign contributor represents rival of WorldCom," by
Ana Radelat:

In April 2002, Turpen and Edmondson participated in a service honoring crime

You can read more about Turpen in this Martindale-Hubbell biography:

Other Members Of August 2003 Fishing Trip To The Amazon, Organized by Terry
(Discussed in greater detail, below.) This expedition was composed of
supporters of Henry's gubernatorial campaign, many of whom "have been
fishing and hunting together for 20 years," according to one member of the

These are the three other OK lawyers who were on that trip, and they're not
listed in any particular order:

Blake Virgin, Esq.
404 S. Peters
Norman OK 73069

According to OKDirect:
Blake Virgin
Norman, OK 73069-6038
(405) 321-5132

And this cached link:

Virgin is "based in Norman, offering services for medical malpractice
and personal injury cases."

Virgin is a member of the advisory board of OTLA (Oklahoma Trial Lawyers
(Bradley West of West Law Firm is on the executive committee and, as of
2003, Jim Loftis was the head of OTLA.)

William "Bill" Woodson is in practice (mainly personal injury) with Loftis
in Norman:

(Another connection I stumbled upon: when Jim Loftis's mother died in Nov.
not surprisingly, Woodson served as a pallbearer, but so did Blake
Virgin. So, these truly appear to be good friends indeed who were
later on that controversial 2003 Amazon fishing trip.)

The only other thing I can tell you about Woodson is he's a supporter of
Blue H.A.W.K. animal rescue and sanctuary in Norman, OK:

John P. Zelbst:
His firm (he has two associates) specializes in personal injury,
malpractice, liability, and criminal law.
See Martindale-Hubbell biography:


Andrew Lester:
Lester, Loving & Davies, P.C., Edmond, OK:
Lester specializes in civil law, including employment and defamation
litigation, and government law.

Lester wasn't in on the Amazon fishing trip, but he was a key figure early
in Henry's administration.  According to this Jan. 14, 2004 University of
Oklahoma press release:
Lester was "chairman of Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry's Law
Enforcement/Corrections Transition Team and was a member of the
Budget/Finance Transition Team."


Lobbyist (and recent law school grad) Robert "Bobby" Stem, of Edmond:
Stem is also a member of the OK Bar:
Bobby Stem worked for 10 years for George Nigh [whom Gov. Henry has
cited as an advisor], David Walters [Walter's former campaign aide was
Loftis, a close friend of Henry's], Dave Renfro, Glen Johnson and
Stratton Taylor before starting his own business in public and
legislative affairs. He currently represents various interests in the
state including the Oklahoma Credit Union Association and the
Fraternal Order of Police. He is a recent law school graduate . . . ."

See this July 27, 2003 Shawnee News-Star article "Lobbyists have spent
$46,000 on politicians so far this year ":
" . . .The reports indicate lobbyists have spent at least $46,000 so
far this year on gifts, including a $179 ticket for Henry to see the
Elton John-Billy Joel rock concert in Oklahoma City in March. The cost
of the ticket was paid by the Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police.

"It was a good time," Henry's host, lobbyist Robert E. Stem of Edmond,
told The Sunday Oklahoman. "We wanted to take him and see some good

As a state senator, Henry authored legislation favorable to the FOP
and has been a friend of the organization, Stem said."

See Stem's other clients, at:  

Oklahoma Credit Union League, Advanced Academics ["Internet Education
company"], and the Oklahoma Community Pharmacy Council, and the
Remington Park Race Track, among other organizations and industries.

"Contact Information:
Stem & Associates
PO Box 7377
Edmond, OK 73083
405.748.6787 Phone
405.748.6788 Fax Client List"

Also, Brad Henry owes much of his success to legendary coach Barry Switzer.
While searching for lawyer pals of Switzer (who's been compelled to hire his
share of barristers, over the years), I did find a few references to
Switzer's brother "Donnie Switzer," a lawyer, but I couldn't find any recent
or specific information on him.

But that's worth bearing in mind: if you can learn of any lawyer pals of
Switzer's, there's a good chance they can gain entrée to Gov. Henry.

Here's how I went about assembling the list:

Using search strings:

Oklahoma AND "Brad Henry" AND attorney AND friend
Governor Brad Henry +friends
attorneys OR lawyers AND campaign AND "Brad Henry" AND Oklahoma
Governor Brad Henry +lawyers
Governor Brad Henry's campaign

I Found: Attorneys Associated With Governor Henry:

First, there's no question that many OK lawyers are supportive of Gov.

The Sept. 3, 2003 Oklahoma City Journal Record reported "Attorneys, law
firms prove major political contributors," written by Ray Carter:

"Attorneys and law firms provided 998 separate donations totaling $843,996
to Gov. Brad Henry's 2002 campaign.

"That total represented 27.63 percent of the $3.05 million raised by Henry.
No other single economic interest group contributed as much. . . ."

"In comparison, Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Largent received
356 separate contributions from attorneys and law firms totaling $130,891.
That was roughly one-third the attorney contributions received by Henry and
represented just 5.12 percent of the $2.56 million raised by the Largent
campaign in 2002."

The site "Over-Lawyered":
has archived information from a story by Nolan Clay, which appeared in the
August 10, 2003, Sunday Oklahoman re: the PAC, Lawyers for Working

"The president of Lawyers for Working Oklahomans says client donations to
its PAC are "strictly voluntary", which is not how several clients remember

"Some said they didn't even know they had made donations. . . . 'I didn't
know I donated to it. I guess I didn't pay that much attention,' said a
flour mill worker.

"The PAC, formed in 1999, 'has already had an impact on state politics. It
spent $67,210 in October on independent political ads that helped Gov. Brad
Henry (D) to his upset victory.' "

Here's the single-most valuable source I found: a Sept. 14, 2003 Oklahoman
article, written by Carmel Perez Snyder, and reprinted at

"Gov. Brad Henry in August went on a weeklong fishing trip to South America
at the invitation of Terry West, a politically influential Shawnee attorney,
records obtained by The Oklahoman show.

"West, a longtime friend of the Henry family, was the roommate of Brad
Henry's father in college. The governor calls him 'Uncle Terry.' "

"Accompanying the governor on the trip were other attorneys, including
Richard Bell, a workers' compensation attorney who once admitted to campaign
violations, and Jim Loftis, president of the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers

"Records obtained from Henry's office show others attending the fishing trip
were . . . Shawnee City Attorney John Canavan . . . Norman attorney Blake
Virgin; Lawton attorney John Zelbst . . . attorney Bill Woodson. . . ."

"Oilman Roy Oliver [who was also on the trip], a Republican and strong
supporter of Steve Largent - Henry's opponent for governor - said Henry
spent much of his time fishing with Canavan, a former law partner."

A spokesperson for Henry said, "'The Henry, Bell and West families have been
friends for many, many years, starting with the governor's father and uncle
several decades ago." Henry "isn't going to throw those family friendships
away simply because a paid, partisan operative is trying to make political
hay out of them.'"


Here's a Feb. 24, 2003 Associated Press article: "Post-election
donations erase debt: Oklahoma governor owed $375,000 and took in

" . . . .Contributors include casino managers, an indicted Tulsa
businessman and more than 100 lawyers.

" . . . The names of numerous Indian tribal officials and at least a
half-dozen Choctaw casino site managers and gaming officials also are
listed as post-election contributors.

" . . . Also listed as contributors are two owners of Texas-based
Lucky Dog Amusement, the vice president of gaming for Multimedia
Games, and the president of the Gillmann Group ? a San Diego-based
casino development and management firm.

"Mr. Henry's biggest group of supporters, both before and after the
election, has been fellow lawyers. As governor, he will have direct
input on issues such as tort limits and workers' comp changes that
affect attorneys' pocketbooks.

"More than 100 lawyers have given more than $100,000 to Mr. Henry
since the election. Eleven of those contributions, totaling $9,125,
came from lawyers at Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis, a
large firm with Oklahoma City and Tulsa offices. "

Campaign Managers/Aides:

You had asked a researcher to find this information, but this appears to be
a dead-end for finding OK lawyers:

"Brad Henry" AND "campaign manager" lead to:
Steve Murphy of Murphy Putnam Media, which is based in VA.

Searching for "Governor Brad Henry's manager" yielded this hit:
NASRA is the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. At the
above page see note under "Oklahoma":
"Tom Spencer, a longtime public servant and Governor Brad Henry's former
general counsel, has assumed his new role as Executive Director of OPERS.

Spencer has previously held other government positions and doesn't appear to
be associated with a private practice.

The November 13, 2002 edition of the Shawnee News-Star:
reports "Henry's law partners, Matt Hopkins and John Canavan, are in charge
of Henry's transition team until a chief of staff is named."

The search terms "Brad Henry" AND "campaign aides" and "Brad Henry" AND
"campaign contributors"  led back to the fishing trip story, and this hit:
Justice Watch:
Sen. Brad Henry, who received five contributions totaling $4,550, including
four from Wackenhut [private prison corporation] lobbyist [Jim] Barker
totaling $4,300 (Sen. Henry was excused from the vote on SB 397);

Wackenhut lobbyist Barker is with "Paradigm, Inc." Barker doesn't appear to
be an attorney himself, but lawyers from Wackenhut may well have some sway
with Henry: The director of Wackenhut attended Henry's inaugural ceremony:


From 2002 Who's Who OK Legislature Archives:
Senator Brad C. Henry:
"Organizations-Board of Trustees, St. Gregory's University, 1990 to present;
Board of Directors, Project Safe, 1993 to present; American, Oklahoma, and
Pottawatomie County (president 1991) Bar Associations; Shawnee and Norman
Chambers of Commerce; Okla. Academy for State Goals; Leadership Oklahoma,
Class IX; Shawnee Lion's Club."

I then tried the search string: "Project Safe" AND Oklahoma AND attorney

The January 26, 2000 News-Star:
When the former director of "Project Safe" faced trial for embezzlement:
"[former] Pottawatomie County District Attorney Kay Christiansen recused
from the case because she was formerly on the nine-member Project Safe board
of directors." (So, she would have been serving on the board during much of
the time Henry did):

However, I can't find contact information on Christiansen, and am not sure
if she's in private practice now.

Search String: "St. Gregory's" AND Oklahoma AND attorney

From the Nov. 19, 1999 Shawnee News-Star:
" . . . local attorney and GCTC [Gordon Cooper Technology Center] small
business coordinator Dale Beard . . . ."

Beard and Henry's tenures on St. Gregory's board would have overlapped. I
can't find contact information for Beard, but know he practices in Shawnee.

Your best best would be to contact him via the GCTC:

One John C Bruton Blvd
Shawnee, OK 74804
Telephone: 405-273-7493

Search String: attorney AND Oklahoma AND "Shawnee Chamber of Commerce"

Shawnee attorney Sid Clarke:
130 N. Broadway, Suite 200
Shawnee, OK 74801
405 275-1045

In 2001, Clarke headed the team in charge of planning a new "Pottawatomie
County Public Safety and Corrections Center":
Terry West acted as an adviser to that committee, and I've already
established that West is a good friend of Henry's.

In 1998, Henry attended a ceremony honoring Shawnee attorney Almon Henson:
Henson, Henson, Henson, Marshall & Milburn
101 W. 9th
Shawnee OK 74801
405 275-2550

See other attorneys listed with the Greater Shawnee Chamber of Commerce:

Using the search strings: How AND "Brad Henry" AND won, and "Brad Henry's

"In what seems to be a trend with the Henry Administration, old [former
governor and advisor to Henry] George Nigh
and [now U.S. Senator] David Walters [Henry's friend Loftis was involved in
Walter's gubernatorial campaign] political functionaries are replacing
career professionals. Kathryn Taylor brought in Delmas Ford. . . ."

Kathryn Taylor is Oklahoma's Secretary of Commerce and Tourism and she is
also a member of the OK Bar Association:
OK Bar News:

On June 25, 2003 the Shawnee News-Star:
reported that "State medical leaders and Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin are
criticizing Gov. Brad Henry's appointment of a malpractice attorney to a
board that oversees Oklahoma doctors."

"Oklahoma City lawyer Gary L. Brooks . . . a registered Republican,
contributed $5,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Henry, a Democrat. He is
past president of the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association and has been
involved in medical malpractice cases against physicians for 28 years. He
gave $200 to the campaign of Fallin, a Republican."

The firm of Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison and Lewis has been a big
supporter of OK's Attorney General, according to the Clarion-Ledger. See
this August 30, 2003 article, "Okla. AG: Telecom case not biased: Friend,
campaign contributor represents rival of WorldCom," by Ana Radelat:

" . . . Turpen's law firm, Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison and Lewis,
donated more than $42,000 before WorldCom crashed in 2002.

" 'Mike Turpen has been a big supporter of the attorney general, but Mike
Turpen had no influence in the decision,' said Edmondson press secretary
Charlie Price. . . . ."

" . . .Jim Davis, a political science professor at Oklahoma State
University, said it is unlikely Edmondson was influenced by the campaign
donations of Turpen and his law partners.

"But he said the prosecution of WorldCom and its former executives have
raised the attorney general's political profile."


Using the search string: "Brad Henry's cousin"
brought up this Junw 13, 2003 News-Star item:
". . .former Oklahoma Attorney General Robert Henry. 'Political humor can be
helpful in surviving political crisis,' Henry, Gov. Brad Henry's cousin and
a judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said at the
summer meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. "

The search terms: Brad Henry" AND cousin AND attorney OR lawyer and "Brad
Henry" AND relative AND attorney OR lawyer, yielded:

News-Star: "August 12, 2003. 'Editors across state comment on executions,
bridges, High Court.' Editorial roundup .
The Associated Press:
"Aug. 7 The Claremore Progress on the Supreme Court:
'Justice Hardy Summers replacement on the Supreme Court of Oklahoma will be
selected by Gov. Brad Henry whose father, uncle and cousin were or are

Henry himself formerly was chair of the senate judiciary committee and a
highly-respected lawyer. Henry knows the value of judicial wisdom and
integrity. His cousin, the former attorney general and legislator Robert
Henry, now is on the U.S. Court of Appeals. His uncle and father were highly
 regarded jurists in Shawnee where the governor once served as city
attorney. . . ."

I didn't find any evidence that any of Henry's relatives are currently
serving as attorneys in OK.


A stray hit turned up this:
The July 2000 issue of Best's Review notes Henry, then a state Senator (and
chairman of the Judiciary Committee) had authored a bill that "allows
members to file suit if their HMO improperly denied them necessary medical
treatment ordered by their primary physician or made other health-care
decisions that were found to be detrimental to them." The bill was passed,
then signed into law by Gov. Keating.

So I searched for  "Brad Henry" AND HMO AND lawyer, which brought up hits
for OSMA (Oklahoma State Medical Association Task Force on Medical Liability
Reform), which worked with then-senator Henry on the bill.

In June 2003, Governor Henry signed the Medical Liability Reform Bill:

According to the Oklahoma State Medical Association:

The following legal firms assisted OSMA, so some of these lawyers likely
have ties to Henry, as the Governor seems committed to medical liability
reform (despite his friendships with malpractice lawyers!):

"James Baker & Associates
Oklahoma City

Scoggins & Cross, PLLC [Tulsa]
(405) 239-4300
Contact Attorneys: Linda G. Scoggins, Esq. or Laura C. Cross, Esq.

Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson, L.L.P.
(918) 582-1211
Contact Attorney: Elise Dunitz Brennan, Esq.

Boone, Smith, Davis, Hurst & Dickman
(918) 587-0000
Contact Attorney: David J. Hyman, Esq. "

MISCELLANEOUS (that proved to be dead-ends):

Search terms:

"Brad Henry" AND "close friend"
"Brad Henry" AND classmate
"Brad Henry" AND fraternity
"Brad Henry" AND "law school classmate" AND Oklahoma
"Brad Henry" AND church"

didn't produce any really useful results.

I also found this hit that led nowhere:

A graduate of CareerTech, Henry also holds membership in FAA, "the career
and technology student organization associated with agricultural education."
See Career Tech
(I couldn't find what the acronym FAA stands for; in this case, it
apparently isn't the Federal Aviation Administration. Nor did I find any
lawyers using FAA along with Henry's name in various searches.)

I hope my research is of help to you.

If you feel I need to clarify any aspect of this answer, please post a
"Request For Clarification," PRIOR to rating my answer, and I'll be glad to
assist you further.

Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Answer by nancylynn-ga on 09 May 2004 20:16 PDT
Sorry, I forgot to include Henry's campaign issues, some of which were
underscored in my answer, especially with regard to campaign
contributions. (Always follow the money!)

It seemed to me Henry had four main campaign issues:

Henry opposed a ban on cockfighting:

Supported an "education lottery":

Supported Native American casinos:

As noted Henry has supported HMO reform and medical malpractice tort
reform, although his critics are far from satisfied. See this June 5,
2003 Associated Press article, GOP lawmakers skeptical, saying measure
doesn't go far enough," by Tim Talley: 

As to his upset victory: Independent Gary Richardson siphoned off some
support from initial favorite, former NFL star and U.S. State
Representative, Steve Largent, the Republican candidate who cost
himself dearly when he lost his cool and snapped at a TV reporter who
asked him where he'd been on 9/11/01. Largent was also hurt by
Richardson's negative ads, which focused on Largent, not Henry.


Nov. 6, 2002 USA Today story:
Henry upsets Steve Largent in governor's race

Also see the Modern Patriot Chronicles, by Craig Dawkins:
for a re-cap of a 2002 debate between the three candidates.
solania-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
Thank you.  Very thorough, professional, prompt and helpful.  Job well
done.  I think FAA is Farmer's Association of America (smile).  Please
watch for my future posts.

Subject: Re: A Research Project for Political Lobbying Purposes
From: nancylynn-ga on 10 May 2004 12:58 PDT
solania-ga wrote: 
"FAA is Farmer's Association of America (smile)."

Ah! (I'm afraid I lasted through only two 4-H projects!) 

Btw, I made a couple of minor gaffes: I meant "confidently," not
"confidentially." (This is what happens to poor saps like me who are
overly reliant on spell check.)

Also, I got it right the first time, but later messed it up: it was
Richard Bell, NOT Jim Loftis, who was an aide to Senator Walters. (I
was dealing with lots of names there and got confused.)

Thank you for your kind rating and for your generous tip!

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