Archive for the ‘Frank Keating’ Category

Last Week of the Session?

May 20, 2008

It looks like insurance mandates and ‘insurance companies behaving badly’ issues will remain on the front burner in what could be the last week of the legislative session.

Already this session we exposed a plan by greedy life insurance companies to screw old people and charities out of the freedom to sell their life policies in arrangements called “life settlements.” After further media exposure, the life companies and their lobbyist Frank Keating were forced to remove many of the more outrageous aspects of the bill, such as turning senior citizens into felons if they did not receive 50% of the face value of the policy. A ‘trailer’ bill is in the works that would remove the last outrageous aspect: Kim Holland, the toady insurance commissioner owned by Keating’s association. Current statutes would allow Holland to harass companies that buy the policies from seniors to such an extent that few would want to do business in Oklahoma. Even Democrats know the commissioner needs to be put into a position where she can do no harm as they regard her as “intellectually-challenged” on most insurance issues, so a trailer bill stands a good chance at passing.

We’ll keep watching this one.

And the Oklahoman is attempting a last minute feeble effort to rescue Rep. Ron Peterson as his clumsy handling of the insurance mandates for autism treatments keeps the issue alive for yet another week. Peterson also was an advocate of the shameful anti-senior life settlement bill. Yesterday, the increasingly irrelevant paper slams Sen. J. Paul Gumm, who is for the mandates but has outflanked and out-maneuvered Peterson from the beginning. As Jim Bowie is aid to have told Col. Travis at the Alamo, “It’s not what you say Travis that bothers me, it’s how you say it.”

Communicating public issues as often more important than the issue itself, something Peterson and the paper need to improve: did you catch the strange reference to global warming? Regardless, insurance issues appear to be ready to explode into the news yet again this week, meaning the press corps will screw it up, so we’ll be cleaning up that mess. Stay tuned!

SCREW Update: Embattled Peterson’s Bill Still Reeks of Scam

May 5, 2008
“Grabbin’ the Ankles”

Capitol observers are reporting some positive modifications in the effort to defeat the SCREW-ing Old People and Charities Act.

The bill, which is headed for conference, was ostensibly an effort by Big Insurance to eliminate so-called Stranger Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) scams, but was actually a back-door way to eliminate ‘life settlements,” an investing tool that gives Oklahoma Seniors and charitable institutions options for estate planning purposes. Big Insurance wants to eliminate ‘life settlements’ in order to pad their obscene profit margins. The bill, authored in the House of Representative by embattled insurance committee chair Ron Peterson, was on a rocket sled to the governor until the OKPNS story and some subsequent stories by other Oklahoma media pulled the covers off the scam. While Big Insurance has lost the element of surprise, many of the onerous items in the bill remain.

Sources say that the Senate, under pressure to fix some of the more outrageous aspects of the SCREW job, have agreed to fix some of the provisions that dictated just how much senior citizens had to receive for their policies lest they face felony charges.

One item that insiders say must be fixed is the power Oklahoma’s incompetent Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland has over such policies. Right now Holland, a toady for Big Insurance, has far too much discretion over the types of companies who would buy life settlements, and could be a backdoor way to stop the life settlement business even if the bad provisions are removed through legislative action. “Holland, who is every bit as big a tool for Big Insurance as Peterson, but far less knowledgeable, could harass and badger companies who want to do life settlement business in Oklahoma, providing yet another way for Big Insurance to prevail, so nothing is fixed just yet,” one observer says.

Video: Jim Inhofe and Frank Keating on John McCain

April 29, 2008

McCain Fundraiser. April 25th 2008

SCREW-ing Old People and Charities Act Advances

April 23, 2008

Oklahoman Editorial: Turning treasures into trash

Originally Posted 4/22/08

As rank-and-file Republicans look on in amazement, yet another corporate welfare scheme is advancing through the Oklahoma House of Representatives, once again being pushed by the Republican leadership.

Despite some negative media attention last week, Big SCREW (Selfish Companies Reaping Excessive Windfalls) remains on general order this week in the house. State Rep. Ron Peterson, already in hot water with the public over his awkward handling of an autism-related insurance matter, is pushing hard for SB 1980, a Trojan horse bill that purports to eliminate so-called Stranger Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) scams, but according to knowledgeable observers is actually a back-door way to eliminate ‘life settlements,” an investing tool that gives Oklahoma Seniors and charitable institutions options for estate planning purposes.

Ironically, the STOLI bill, which purports to stop one type of scam, is a swindle itself. “There is no STOLI problem in Oklahoma,” another insider tells OKPNS. “Over 60% of life insurance policies lapse, so this is just a way to keep from paying claims. It will hurt senior citizens and Oklahoma charities, and the backers of this fraud should be ashamed, VERY ashamed. If they want to stop STOLI, a short amendment would suffice. It wouldn’t take a massive esoteric bill to end STOLI, but let’s be real: stopping STOLI is not what this is all about,” she says. Regular OKPNS readers will recognize the gang that is advancing the Big SCREW. The primary proponent is the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI) in Washington, headed by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating. Keating, also a member of the Chesapeake Energy Board of Directors, has hired the Fried lobbying bunch to pull the wool over legislators’ eyes. Also lobbying hard for the bill is the insurance industry’s toady, insurance commissioner Kim Holland, and the Senate author Sean Burrage.

Under the pretext of ending STOLI, the 88-page bill includes cynical clauses, including on that mandates that life insurance policy holders cannot receive less than 50% of the face value of the policy, which effectively kills the practice. Life settlements enable financially-strapped seniors to realize some yield from their investments if they are sick or in need of some financial assistance. Further, seniors who violate that aspect of the bill will be guilty of a FELONY, an excessive and immoral element. The bill is especially ironic when considering that Ronald Reagan is believed to have sold some policies in his last years.

Under SB 1980, “Big Insurance” wins, and Oklahoma seniors and charities lose. This bill will seriously and dramatically affect those citizens who buy life insurance policies for estate planning purposes and negatively affect the net worth of Oklahoma seniors. It is a scandalous bill rooted in the desire of Big Insurance to take every last nickel from their policy holders, regardless of morals and fairness. This bill would have jailed Ronald Reagan, and at some point people will find out what has happened, and for legislators who support this abomination, it could be THE campaign issue of the year.

American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) Commends Paulson’s Proposals

April 3, 2008

From The Hill’s Congress Blog:

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R), president of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), says Treasury Secretary Paulson’s regulatory proposals for life insurers would save consumers $5.7 billion per year.

John McCain 2008 Announces National Catholics For McCain Leadership Team

December 28, 2007
OKPNS has very mixed feelings about John McCain. I mean this is the same guy who supported the Presidents Immigration Reform bill. Since then he has said that he was wrong and he heard us loud and clear. I can respect a man who admits his mistakes and corrects them. Senator McCain is a very principled man and I think his service to our country has prepared him to deal with the tough issues facing our country. I mean you really have to admire someone who spent time as a POW and didn’t break.

Former Governor Frank Keating (R-OK), also National Co-Chair of Catholics for McCain said, “John McCain can uniquely appeal to Catholics with his strong, 24-year pro-life record, his stand for traditional values and school choice, his proven leadership in defending America, and his demonstrated ability to appeal to independent-minded voters. These are exactly the type of qualities that Catholic voters will be looking for in 2008.”

In a joint statement, Governor Keating and Senator Brownback added: “In this election, with so much at stake, we need a leader who will help transform history to extend and uphold the rights and dignity of each and every child of God. John McCain is that leader.”

John McCain expressed his appreciation and stated: “I am very pleased to have the support of this distinguished coalition of Catholic leaders. I am proud to stand side-by-side with Catholics on many of the most critical issues of our day: defending the sanctity of human life, upholding traditional marriage, expanding educational choice, and defending America from the threats that we face around the globe. I have fought my entire life to protect religious freedom and human rights around the world. I look forward to working with these Catholic leaders in the weeks and months ahead as we take our shared values to the White House.”

Catholics for McCain will play an active role in educating and communicating with fellow Catholics about why John McCain is the best candidate to successfully promote Catholic values in the upcoming election.

Read More

Gov. Keating: "I Was Against the Estate Tax Before I Became the Life Insurance Industry’s Chief Lobbyist"

November 19, 2007

Commentary from the Washington Examiner:

The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) spent $9.6 million on lobbying last year and is on pace to spend more than $10 million this year — and that’s on top of the lobbying efforts by its individual members, the life insurance companies. Why? One life insurance industry lobbyist estimated last year that the industry gets about 10 percent of its business through estate planning.

Frank Keating is ACLI’s president, and he lobbies Capitol Hill on tax issues. When he was a Republican governor of Oklahoma, Keating wrote a piece for the newsletter of Americans for Tax Reform that read, in part, “I believe death taxes are un-American.”

He tied the death tax to “failed collectivist schemes of the past” and praised President Bush’s plan to abolish the federal estate tax. As head of ACLI, he changed his tune and began supporting the death tax, telling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “I am institutionally and intestinally against huge blocs of inherited wealth.”

But ACLI is hardly a Republican institution. One of Keating’s lobbying colleagues at ACLI is Kimberly Dorgan, wife of Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan, who supports the estate tax. Also, since Keating has taken over — and since permanent repeal of the estate tax has been a recurring theme on the Hill — ACLI has shifted its donation pattern. Read more…

Former Governor Keating Pushes for Federal Insurance Regulator

October 25, 2007

Lawmakers pushing for the creation of a federal insurance regulator say the country’s banking industry shows that a two-tiered system benefits consumers.

“That regulatory competition between state regulators and federal regulators has served consumers quite well,” Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) argued at a policy breakfast hosted by The Hill on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), one of the most vocal advocates for the legislation and a sponsor of the breakfast, unveiled a study concluding that an optional federal charter would boost competition and innovation in the insurance industry. Earlier this year, the trade group released a study finding that a federal regulator would generate up to $5.7 billion in savings for the 284 life insurers analyzed.

Speaking at the breakfast, ACLI president and former Republican governor of Oklahoma Frank Keating argued that those savings would be passed on to consumers, reducing prices by “an average of 2 percent on each policy.” Read more…

3,720 Marriages vs. 3,335 Divorces

August 22, 2007

By Alice Collinsworth
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — This is the first of a three-part series exploring the problem of Oklahoma’s high divorce rate in Oklahoma and its effect on our state’s residents. Part two on Monday will highlight the generational impact of divorce; part three on Tuesday outlines one woman’s plan to help families avoid the financial pitfalls of divorce.

The state of marriage in Oklahoma is not well.

It’s an accepted fact that about 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce; among the states, Oklahoma traditionally ranks high.

It has become more difficult to compare state divorce statistics, said Kendy Cox, director of services for the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, but in 1999, researchers ranked Oklahoma anywhere from No. 1 to No. 5 on the list of failed marriages.

“Based on everything I’ve read and seen and researched, Oklahoma does rank right up there in the number of divorces,” said Oklahoma County Court Clerk Patricia Presley.

At the same time, applications for marriage licenses are on a decline during the past two decades. In Oklahoma County, 6,309 applications were made in 2006. The year 2005 was the lowest since 1987, with 6,288. Read more…

10 Questions: About Clergy Sex Abuse

July 23, 2007

Posted by Katie Couric

Monday, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Cardinal Roger Mahony agreed to the biggest settlement yet in a national scandal that has engufled the Catholic Church. It agreed to pay $660 million to over 500 alleged victims of clergy sex abuse.

It’s another sad chapter in a sad story for the Catholic Church in America, one that begin when the Boston abuse scandal was revealed in 2002. To put this in context, and get a better understanding of what it means and how the Church has coped with this crisis, we decided to pose this week’s 10 Questions to Frank Keating.

Keating is the former governor of Oklahoma who was appointed chairman of the National Review Board, a panel created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to make sure churches are complying with new rules designed to prevent the abuse of children by priests and religious. His one-year term on the board was marked by controversy and sharp disagreements with some of the Church hierarchy — most notably, with the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony. Read more…