Election opponent sues Oklahoma state Sen. Clark Jolley

Saying ads were malicious and false, Paul Blair filed a lawsuit Thursday against Oklahoma state Sen. Clark Jolley and the political action committee that paid for advertisements calling into question Blair's tax record.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Modified: June 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm •  Published: June 22, 2012
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Political action committees

The ads in question are not being paid for by Jolley's campaign, but rather a political action committee known as the Coalition for Oklahoma's Future Inc., also a defendant in the lawsuit.

Xavier Neira, chairman of the Coalition for Oklahoma's Future, released information Monday showing three businesses that were started by Blair failed to pay a franchise tax. Businesses are required to file a listing of officers annually, which usually also includes paying a franchise tax of $25.

Blair said that one of those companies he has not been involved with for a decade, the other was open for a year and then closed and the third is his vending company.

He said there was an oversight one time in paying the $25, but the fee was paid as soon as they realized their oversight.

“There are no taxes due,” Blair said.

Robert McCampbell, attorney for the Coalition for Oklahoma's Future, said the group is completely independent of Jolley and his campaign.

“This lawsuit is without merit and appears to be merely for political spin,” McCampbell said. “The ads by C.O.F. merely repeat fact from official documents about violations of Oklahoma tax laws by companies Blair founded. The tax law violations are confirmed by public documents from the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the secretary of state's office.”

Blair said in his lawsuit that this type of negative campaigning and false advertising “chills society's interest in uninhibited, robust and wide-open debate on public issues.”

Blair said in a statement that he understands now why good people don't run for office.

“It is a shame when a man who has invested 49 years in his hometown, 25 years as a small-business man and 11 years as a minister, all the while establishing an impeccable reputation in the community, and now trying to serve his community through accepting the public trust, is viciously and unjustly attacked,” Blair said. “If a PAC can do this to me, then there is no limit to what a PAC can do to any candidate.”

Contributing: Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau