Candidate’s fundraising of particular interest
By: Catherine Sweeney, The Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – A debate regarding campaign ethics boils down to one word: interest.
A sitting Oklahoma corporation commissioner is running for statewide office. Those commissioners face the most stringent campaign laws in the state because they regulate some of Oklahoma’s most powerful industries, including petroleum, telecommunications, and electricity. The statutes dictate that officials can take contributions from regulated industries, but only during a short window.
Commissioner Dana Murphy is running for lieutenant governor and is already fundraising. She said she feels confident navigating the rules, and that she won’t be taking contributions from people who work in those industries until it is appropriate. Her critics said that it’s not so simple. The law bans contributions from not only people who work in the regulated industries but also those who hold any interest in them.
A.J. Ferate is the attorney for the Oklahoma Republican Party and has worked for a corporation commissioner. He said that the law is tougher than it seems on the first read.
“I feel really badly for Commissioner Murphy because the restriction is so onerous in this state,” he said. “It creates a really restrictive, and frankly, in my opinion, too restrictive requirement.”