OKLAHOMA CITY — A complaint lodged before the Oklahoma Ethics Commission about Republican Sen. Clark Jolley’s April 1 campaign statement of organization has stirred controversy over the powerful Appropriations Committee chairman’s timing and adherence to election provisions.
Jolley asserts, The Edmond Sun reports, that the ethics complaint is a campaign tactic. Jolley also said he has reported all campaign contributions, contending the complaint “is a desperate attempt to paint me as unethical.” He blamed the filing on his Republican primary opponent “and his supporters.”
CapitolBeatOK discussed the ethics filing, and state election law provisions, with University of Oklahoma political science Professor Ronald Keith Gaddie, also editor of the Social Science Quarterly.
In response to questions from CapitolBeatOK, Gaddie reflected, “The problem with campaign finance issues in Oklahoma are two-fold. First, the ethics commission does not have a history of aggressively pursuing technical and paperwork failures by candidates. Second, it is possible that Senator Jolley assumed that he was operating under his old committee — there was no intent to act in bad faith.”
Gaddie, a widely acknowledged analyst of state politics, continued, “Campaign finance issues are technical; they don’t usually resonate with most voters because they are complicated and difficult to explain. For an issue like this to have a political impact, there has to be some other defect with the candidate, some other shortcoming or pattern of behavior to marry to the ethics complaint.”
Robert Donohoo, a resident of Senate District 41 in Edmond (Oklahoma) lodged his complaint before the Oklahoma Ethics Commission on Friday (June 1). He then informed a few state Capitol press room reporters, including CapitolBeatOK, of the filing, providing them copies of what he had submitted.
In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Donohoo said his concern was that “Senator Jolley was gathering funds and expending long before he filed for re-election.” He said his hopes were “that the violations of Ethics Rules would be exposed, and brought out for what they are.”