Reports Reveal Financial Support Behind Oklahoma Gubernatorial Candidates
Editor's note: The Last Minute Contributions/Receipts Reports can be searched at the Oklahoma Ethics Commission website. The Commission calls each of these specific reports a C-4R. The story below contains references to specific pages of the C-4R reports filed by the candidates.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Forms filed with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission show who supported the candidates in the race for governor in both the Democrat and Republican parties with last-minute donations leading up to last week's primary election.
According to Last Minute Contributions/Receipts Report filed with the Ethics Commission, Democrat Jari Askins received $26,000 the day before the election from executives involved in the poultry industry in Oklahoma.
Lieutenant Governor Askins upset Attorney General Drew Edmondson in last week's primary. Edmondson drew the ire of the poultry industry by pursuing a long-running lawsuit on behalf of Oklahoma over possible pollution caused by chicken litter in the Illinois River watershed.
According to the report, Don Tyson, the CEO of Tyson Foods, donated $5,000 to Askins' campaign, as did John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods. Gene George of George's Incorporated donated $3,000. Gary George donated $3,000. Mark Simmons, owner of Simmons Foods, gave $5,000. Todd Simmons, president and COO of Simmons, gave $1,000. Randall Goins, Vice Chair of the Board for O.K. Industries, gave $2,000.
Askins' campaign manager says she met with members of the industry, but she refused to discuss the lawsuit. Her campaign says the lieutenant governor enjoys a lot of support from all sectors of agriculture.
As a former judge and teacher, it's not surprising Askins also received numerous donations from attorneys and teachers. She also received $2,000 from the Muscogee Creek Nation in Okmulgee on July 24th. But the records also show she loaned her campaign $100,000 on July 24th, the day before the primary election.
Askins raised about $85,000 in the 13 days leading up to the primary, but she kicked in another $100,000 of her own money. That brings her total loan to her campaign to almost three-quarters of a million.
According to the reports Askins' Republican opponent, Congresswoman Mary Fallin, received donations from many business owners and executives, including many in the oil and gas field.
She received a $1,000 donation from George Charlton, president of Charlton Investments in Tulsa. So did Michael Cowan, owner of Champion Roofing in Edmond.
According to the report, Craig Kitchen, CEO of Millennium Energy, donated $5,000 and gave an address in Gilbert, Arizona.
She also received $5,000 from the Energy For Oklahomans Political Action Committee.
Martha Burger, VP of human resources for Chesapeake Energy, gave $1,000 to Askins. But the report says Burger's boss, Aubrey McClendon the CEO, gave $5,000 to Fallin.
Fallin raised more than $85,000 in the 13 days leading up to the primary. Two dozen political action committees have contributed to her campaign, including Cox Communications and the Oklahoma Bankers.
Fallin has raised more than $2.3 million.
As the state's top law enforcement officer, it's no surprise that Drew Edmondson's reports are full of donations from attorneys all over the state. Brad Carson, a former Democrat Congressman who now teaches energy policy and energy law at the University of Tulsa, gave $5,000.
But Edmondson also received money from political action committees. He accepted a $1,445 donation from the Just Progress PAC based in Tulsa, as well as $1,000 from the Oklahoma Dental Political Action Committee in Oklahoma City.
Randy Brogdon was an underdog in the race for the Republican nomination for governor and his donation reports indicate he received donations from individuals across the state. Most of them made donations of $100 or $200.