Oklahoma group issues report

Monday, September 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Strong support for more regulations on campaign financing is cited in a report issued Monday by a coalition of citizen groups.

The report, ``Money in Politics: Search for a Better Democracy,'' is the culmination of a project initiated a year ago.

The coalition includes Oklahoma Citizens for Campaign Finance Reform and the League of Women Voters.

As part of the project, dozens of small study groups held meetings on the campaign finance issue and the role it plays in the electoral and legislative process, said Brenda Moore, executive director of the OCCFR.

``There is considerable support for public funding of legislative and statewide campaigns, with lower limits on contributions and spending and more grassroots building,'' the report's executive summary said.

But the report made no specific recommendations in the campaign financing area. That will come later after additional study, officials said.

``Most groups felt the high cost of campaigns was directly related to the cost of advertising, especially for television, and because of this cost, many worthy candidates cannot afford to run for office,'' said O. Gail Pool, past chairman of the OCCFR.

The report said study groups overwhelmingly agreed that there was too much coverage of crime and animal stories in the news media and not enough reporting on government and issues.

The report said participants also expressed:

_ Opposition to term limits, but support for alternate ways to bring new blood into the political system.

_ A need for more civics and government courses in junior high and high school.

_ Strong support for beefing up the state Ethics Commission.

_ A need for policy-makers to conduct more town meetings.

_ Support for making it easier for third parties to gain access to the state ballot.