Oklahoma Supreme Court asked to take up taxpayer demand law

A district court judge dismissed a challenge last week to the law.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 8, 2013

A law that took effect last year should be thrown out because it makes it harder for people to file a taxpayer demand against a state, city, county or school district official, an Oklahoma City attorney said Monday.

Jerry Fent filed an appeal Monday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, a week after Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves threw out his lawsuit challenging the law.

Fent is asking the high court to retain jurisdiction instead of assigning the appeal to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals.

Fent said the law is unconstitutional because it increases the number of people needed to file the legal action.

A taxpayer demand targets alleged misuse of tax dollars by state and local public officials.

The so-called “qui tam” action, seldom used, is filed after it has been alleged an official made improper financial dealings and the official denied the accusation and refused to recover any illegally paid funds.

Action two years ago

Fent asked the state Supreme Court two years ago to take up his concerns about the law, but the high court refused to take jurisdiction and said the matter should first be brought up in district court.

Fent is asking that the law be declared unconstitutional and that the previous qui tam law be restored.

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