Monday, June 21, 2010

Mark Costello Says Jason Reese's Claim False

Republican labor commissioner candidate Mark Costello said today his opponent's allegation of "political plagarism," leveled last week, is false and reeks of political mud-slinging.

Costello said the claim by Jason Reese that Costello copied Reese's plan to consolidate four agencies into a new department was made without evidence and ignores Costello's long-standing support of such a move.

Costello quoted from Reese's statements and offered his rebuttal:

Statement by Jason Reese: I’m glad to see my opponent read my interview with the Lawton Constitution--back in the beginning of this month--in which I detailed the specific benefits of merging overlapping functions of these agencies.”

This is a false statement. Neither I, nor anyone that I am aware of, had read the article referenced by Mr. Reese. We learned of the article in the attack media release issued by Mr. Reese. As a business owner, who has employed legal council over the years, I know that a good lawyer does not make assertions unless they are backed by evidence.

Jason Reese Media Release statement: Today Republican Labor Commissioner candidate Jason Reese welcomed his primary opponent’s recent press release wherein he joins Reese in calling for the merger of numerous overlapping state agencies that deal with labor and employment law.

Mr. Reese is inaccurate in suggesting that I joined him in calling for the consolidation of the same state boards, departments, or commissions into the Department of Labor. I made my proposal independent of Mr. Reese. I proposed the consolidation of the Department of Labor, Department of Mines, Construction Industries Board, and Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission into one agency, called the Oklahoma Department of Employment and Safety. Furthermore, Mr. Reese includes the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission (that investigates complaints of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age) while omitting the Constructions Industries Board. Speaker Benge suggested the Constructions Industries Board and the Department of Labor as two entities to consolidate.

Statement by Jason Reese: This job is not merely about managing a staff, but about fulfilling a mission. Deciding disputes between labor and management and enforcing safety rules is a serious business.

Mr. Reese displays a lack of legal knowledge regarding U.S. federal labor law and the mission of the Department of Labor. Collective bargaining agreements and labor disputes are under the authority of the National Labor Relations Board, not the Oklahoma Department of Labor. The Oklahoma Department of Labor has no legal authority to decide “disputes between labor and management.” According to the NLRB web site,, “The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector.”

Costello concluded: In summary, Mr. Reese's accusations of plagiarism are false. His attack suggests some level of desperation, particularly since he engaged in the age-old mud-slinging tactic of name-calling.

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