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Lankford group goes negative against Shannon

by Chris Casteel Published: June 16, 2014
<infobox_endnote>James Lankford<252,1></infobox_endnote><137>stands to answer a question as fellow Republican candidates T. W. Shannon, center, and Randy Brogdon await their turn to respond to the question. Standing in background is the moderator of the debate on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoma<137> <strong>Jim Beckel - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
James Lankford<252,1><137>stands to answer a question as fellow Republican candidates T. W. Shannon, center, and Randy Brogdon await their turn to respond to the question. Standing in background is the moderator of the debate on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoma<137> Jim Beckel - THE OKLAHOMAN

A dark money group backing U.S. Rep. James Lankford in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn paid more than $126,000 to air an ad blasting state Rep. T.W. Shannon, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Foundation for Economic Prosperity Inc. launched its new ad just as Coburn, R-Muskogee, and Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, were criticizing groups backing Shannon for running negative ads.

The Economic Prosperity ad makes extremely vague charges against Shannon, saying he voted in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for higher debt and a Medicaid expansion for a special interest that employed him. The ad praises Lankford

Though the group has previously run ads in favor of Lankford and paid for a statewide poll, it has not reported those expenditures to the Federal Election Commission.

On a report filed Friday, the group says its expenditures to date have been $126,623 - the amount spent for its most recent ad.

Reports filed by Oklahoma City television station KOCO have listed leaders of the Economic Prosperity Foundation as Oklahoma City fundraiser Trey Richardson and Joel Riter, a political operative who worked on an Ohio Senate campaign.

Neither has responded to inquiries about the group.

Shannon, R-Lawton, has criticized Lankford for voting to raise the debt ceiling twice. Groups called Oklahomans for a Conservative Future and the Senate Conservatives Fund have been airing ads that try to link Lankford to policies of President Barack Obama. Coburn called those ads “absolutely untrue” last week and said he was sickened by them.

Seven Republicans are running for the nomination to replace Coburn. The primary is June 24. A run-off, if necessary, will be held on Aug. 26.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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