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 The Oklahoman has had a full-time bureau for more than 70 years. While there, Casteel has covered Oklahoma people and issues in Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and federal agencies and courts in the Washington area. He reported on the Anita Hill hearings, the impeachment and trial of former President Bill Clinton, the federal investigation of former state Sen. Gene Stipe and numerous elections. He has been to 11 national political conventions and five presidential inaugurations.

Top Stories


  • Republican lawmaker from Oklahoma self-funds congressional campaign with $500,000

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    State Rep. Mike Turner’s donation and loan to his campaign puts his fundraising ahead of Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas and the rest of a crowded field

  • Patrice Douglas leads money chase in crowded Oklahoma field for U.S. House seat

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sun, Apr 20, 2014

    Oklahoma City-area congressional seat draws lots of candidates and donors; Douglas, a Republican corporation commissioner from Edmond, has twice the war chest of any other candidate.

  • Three takeaways from arguments in Oklahoma's same-sex marriage case

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sun, Apr 20, 2014

    The federal appeals court in Denver has completed arguments over the same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah and must now render a decision.

  • Three takeaways from same-sex marriage arguments

    Chris Casteel | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    Three judges on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Denver on Thursday in Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage case. The same judges heard arguments on April 10 in Utah’s same-sex marriage case, which is very similar to the one from Oklahoma. In both, a federal judge struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage on 14th Amendment grounds _ that the bans violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples. The federal appeals court is hearing both cases on a fast track _ though there is no deadline for a decision _ and whichever side loses is expected to appeal to the U.S.…

  • Oklahoma same-sex marriage case to be argued in Denver this week

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    Judges on a federal appeals court will hear attorneys on both sides argue over whether a U.S. district judge in Tulsa was right to strike down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage.

  • The 14th Amendment: Does it protect same-sex marriage?

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    As federal appeals court judges weigh Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage, they must determine what level of constitutional protection to afford those couples currently excluded from marriage.

  • Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper warns lawmakers against allowing bigger trucks on roads

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    An Oklahoma trooper says bigger trucks pose more danger to motorists and roads, but trucking group supports proposals for heavier and longer trucks.

  • Disability reviews won't save Social Security program from shortfall, official says

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Wed, Apr 9, 2014

    During a hearing of Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford’s subcommittee, lawmakers continued to explore the various aspects of Social Security disability programs that are facing financial shortfalls in just two years.

  • Tracking MIAs among areas cited in new report on federal duplication

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Apr 9, 2014

    The Government Accountability Office finds 11 more areas of potential overlap and duplication in the fourth annual report required by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s legislation.

  • Same-sex couples in Oklahoma case argue against state's right to define marriage

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Mon, Apr 7, 2014

    In last brief before oral arguments, couples tell federal appeals court that states don’t have the right to violate constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection.

  • Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's pending retirement leads to two major federal races

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sun, Apr 6, 2014

    Politically ambitious jump at the chance to run for an open U.S. Senate seat and the U.S. House seat being vacated by incumbent Rep. James Lankford.

  • Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn targets obscure agency that sells reports public can get for free

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Apr 3, 2014

    Coburn, Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine co-sponsor of legislation called the Let Me Google That For You Act to eliminate agency that loses money selling reports, including ones written by Coburn that are posted for free on the senator’s website.

  • Sen. Tom Coburn: Some CIA interrogation "could be considered torture"

    Chris Casteel | Published: Thu, Apr 3, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday that he voted “present” on declassifying portions of a report on CIA torture. Coburn, R-Muskogee, said he didn’t vote for or against declassifying the report sections because he was not on the committee when the report was approved. The committee voted Thursday to declassify the report’s 480-page executive summary and 20 findings and conclusions from a five-year study of the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program, which involved more than 100 detainees between September 2001 and January 2009.…

  • Coburn: Feds sell reports I post for free on my website

    Chris Casteel | Published: Thu, Apr 3, 2014

    WASHINGTON _ Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, are among the bipartisan authors of a bill to eliminate an agency that sells free government reports to other federal agencies and the public at a loss to taxpayers. According to lawmakers, the National Technical Information Service has lost more than $1 million trying to sell government reports that are available for free online “with a money-losing profit model only the government could design.” “This is the ‘let me google that for you’ office of the federal government,” Coburn said.…

  • Tulsa County court clerk defends Oklahoma's right to define marriage

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Apr 3, 2014

    In new legal filing at federal appeals court, a Tulsa County official says ruling against Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage would federalize “a genderless-marriage institution.”

  • Tulsa County court clerk defends state right to define marriage

    Chris Casteel | Published: Wed, Apr 2, 2014

    The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals should uphold Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states have the power to define marriage, attorneys defending the law said in a brief filed Tuesday night. If the appeals court rules that the Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the ruling “would permanently install a genderless-marriage institution as federal domestic-relations policy nationwide. In that world, the People could never recapture the man-woman marriage institution, regardless of what the best interests of society might dictate,” according to the brief filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group representing Tulsa County Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith in the case.…

  • U.S. House passes bill to improve tornado forecasting

    BY CHRIS CASTEEL, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Apr 2, 2014

    Legislation by Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine is aimed at better coordinating federal weather research efforts and tapping the expertise of universities and private companies.

  • Some U.S. Senate donors remain anonymous

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sat, Mar 29, 2014

    Oklahomans for a Conservative Future has spent nearly $400,000 on television ads and direct mail for the Republican candidate under a non-profit status that allows unlimited donations that don’t have to be disclosed.

  • Lesser prairie chicken is listed as threatened

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Mar 27, 2014

    After years of review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the lesser prairie chicken on the list of threatened species, but it allows protection under a plan meant to reduce the impact on agriculture and energy production in Oklahoma and four other states.

  • Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett blames ramp project delay on federal red tape

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Mar 27, 2014

    At U.S. Senate hearing, mayor says project near research park delayed by four months already because federal officials want a study that state transportation department considers unnecessary.