Longtime lobbyist Barry K. Moore told the FBI he hired a state senator for legal services but federal prosecutors now are alleging the monthly payments actually were bribes.
Moore, 51, of Edmond, has not been charged.
The allegations about him, though, have surfaced in the federal case against former state Senate leader Mike Morgan.
Morgan, a Stillwater attorney, is set to be sentenced in January in Oklahoma City federal court. A jury convicted Morgan in March of accepting $12,000 in bribes from an Edmond company that operated assisted-living centers.
Prosecutors now are asking U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron to consider other payments to Morgan as bribes when she decides his sentence.
“The people of Oklahoma need to be able to trust that their legislators are motivated by the public interest, rather than by bribes disguised as legal fees,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo to the judge Nov. 2. “Mr. Morgan had at least five corrupt bribery schemes operating at once.”
Prosecutors specifically want the judge to consider the $33,500 the lobbyist's company, The BKM Group, paid Morgan. Prosecutors gave the judge 36 pages of Morgan's bills to The BKM Group.
“In reality, The BKM Group was paying Mr. Morgan for his legislative influence,” prosecutors wrote.
Moore, a lobbyist for a number of rural telephone companies, declined to comment. He also is chairman of the Edmond Planning Commission.
His attorney, Joe White, confirmed Moore still claims the payments were for legal services. White declined further comment.
Morgan, a Democrat, maintains that he is innocent. He testified at trial that he never sold his Senate seat.
His new attorney, Jack Fisher, said prosecutors only presented one side in their memo. “The court is going to decide whether there was corruption involved or not,” Fisher said.
Morgan was Senate president pro tem in 2005 and 2006. He was Senate co-president pro tem in 2007 and 2008. He left the Legislature at the end of 2008 because of term limits.
Prosecutors reported Morgan began billing the lobbyist's company $1,000 a month in late 2006.
The bills increased to $1,500 a month in 2007.
The bills were reduced to $500 a month in 2009 shortly after Morgan left the Senate. Prosecutors told the judge Morgan knew by that time he was under investigation.
The bills stopped all together later in 2009.
“Mike Morgan is a lawyer that I use for a lot of different things,” Moore told the FBI in 2009, according to a secret FBI report.
FBI agents reported that Moore explained “there is stuff that goes on in other states and he can consult with Morgan.”
FBI agents reported Moore said he also consulted with Morgan on questions involving the OKC Metro Alliance, which provides alcohol rehab services. Moore was once president of the alliance's board of directors.
Prosecutors reported that in January 2007, after he began paying Morgan, Moore sent an email to leaders in Oklahoma's rural telephone industry about a bill supported by Cox Communications and opposed by AT&T.
Moore wrote in the email, “Senator Morgan called and indicated he would not meet with them until he hears from us regarding our position on this legislation.”
Prosecutors told the judge that the lobbyist was known for trying to stop AT&T legislative projects.
They told the judge that Morgan in 2008 had assured the president of AT&T Oklahoma he would support a bill that would ease AT&T's tax burden. Prosecutors reported that Morgan later said he would not support it.
Prosecutors reported the AT&T Oklahoma president said he often saw the lobbyist “in or near Mr. Morgan's office and believes that Mr. Morgan succumbed to improper influence in connection with this bill.”