David Hall (Oklahoma governor)

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For other persons named David Hall, see David Hall (disambiguation)
David Hall
20th Governor of Oklahoma
In office
January 11, 1971 – January 13, 1975
Lieutenant George Nigh
Preceded by Dewey F. Bartlett
Succeeded by David L. Boren
Personal details
Born (1930-10-20) October 20, 1930 (age 85)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jo Evans Hall
Residence La Jolla, California
Profession lawyer and politician
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1952-1954
Battles/wars Korean War

David Hall (born October 20, 1930), is an American Democratic politician, He served as the 20th Governor of Oklahoma from January 11, 1971 to January 13, 1975, after serving as Tulsa County District Attorney, and was previously a law professor at the University of Tulsa.

Hall was indicted on federal racketeering and extortion charges and convicted for bribery and extortion.[1] He became the first Oklahoma governor to be convicted of criminal acts committed during his tenure. He served 19 months of a three-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tucson.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

David Hall was born in Oklahoma City, and is the son of William A. "Red" Hall. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma in 1952; he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. Upon graduation from college, he joined the United States Air Force serving until 1954 and then joined the Reserves. In 1959, he earned a law degree from the University of Tulsa. From 1959 to 1962, he served as assistant county attorney for Tulsa County, and was Tulsa County district attorney from 1962 through 1966. From 1968 to 1971, he served as a law professor at the University of Tulsa.

Governor of Oklahoma[edit]

In 1966, Hall finished a close third in the Democratic primary for governor. Four years later, he defeated incumbent Republican Governor Dewey F. Bartlett in the closest gubernatorial election in state history, and took office only after a recount confirmed his victory. As governor, he championed education and transportation issues. His administration issued a landmark educational public policy analysis book of Oklahoma's education system entitled "Measuring up and Moving On." Hall and his appointees to the state highway commission and Turnpike authority were committed to expanding the state's roads. During his term as governor, the state drastically expanded the vocational technical (later renamed career-tech) system of facilities offering low or no cost training certificates for residents. As governor, he signed into law the Oklahoma Income Tax Act, which enacted Oklahoma's income tax code.

Hall's administration and policy initiatives were opposed and attacked on a regular basis by the state's largest newspaper, The Daily Oklahoman, and its powerful publisher, billionaire Edward Gaylord. Gaylord had supported Hall's opponent, former Governor Bartlett.

Unsuccessful re-election bid[edit]

Hall was unsuccessful his quest for re-election in 1974, garnering only 27% of the vote, coming in third place in the primary, trailing U.S. Congressman Clem McSpadden, and State Representative and Oklahoma Baptist University professor David L. Boren, who eventually won the nomination and general election.

Charges and retirement[edit]

Three days after leaving office on January 13, 1975, Hall was indicted on federal racketeering and extortion charges, in a conspiracy involving Hall and Secretary of State John Rogers willfully steering State of Oklahoma employee retiree funds to investment funds controlled by Dallas, Texas, businessman W. W. "Doc" Taylor. Upon his conviction two months later for bribery and extortion,[1] he became the first Oklahoma Governor to be convicted of criminal acts committed during his tenure. After exhausting all appeals, he served 19 months of a three-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tucson.[2] Upon his release from prison in 1978, he was disbarred by the Oklahoma Bar Association, which effectively prevented him from practicing law in Oklahoma. Leaving the public spotlight of the political and legal fields, he later moved to La Jolla, California, where he worked in real estate and other ventures.[4]

Return to Oklahoma[edit]

On February 13, 2007, Hall made his first appearance in the State of Oklahoma since he left office over thirty years before. He appeared at the Oklahoma History Center to help launch a new exhibit that features all of the Governors of the State of Oklahoma. Hall remarked that it was "like coming back to heaven." He authored a memoir, 2012's Twisted Justice: A Memoir of Conspiracies and Personal Politics which feature his recollections of his time in office, and his reflections on his prison sentence and subsequent career.[4]


  1. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 29. ISBN 0-465-04195-7. 
  2. ^ a b [1]
  3. ^ 100 Years of Oklahoma Governors Biography
  4. ^ a b Chris Casteel, News OK, Former Oklahoma Gov. David Hall's Book Tells His Side of the Bribery Story, February 3, 2012

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dewey F. Bartlett
Governor of Oklahoma
January 11, 1971–January 13, 1975
Succeeded by
David L. Boren