Loophole allows fundraisers during Oklahoma special session
By SEAN MURPHY
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma legislators have been raising thousands of dollars from lobbyists at lavish fundraisers during a special session limping into its eighth week, yet they’ve failed to make much progress toward plugging a $215 million hole in the state budget.
The Associated Press obtained invitations to a dozen scheduled fundraisers held over the past few weeks for some of the Legislature’s top Republican leaders, including the powerful chairs of the appropriations committees in the House and Senate.
During the regular session that ended in May, members of the Legislature could have faced fines and up to a year in jail for accepting contributions from lobbyists or the companies that employ them. But legislators intentionally left a loophole in the 2008 law establishing the misdemeanor by deciding it shouldn’t apply to special sessions like the current one.
With no end in sight to the session, state House and Senate members are taking full advantage of the loophole by raising money for elections a year away.