Chris Casteel
Local News 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.


  • For Oklahoma's most well-known same-sex couple, work continues on marriage equality

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    After fighting Oklahoma’s marriage ban for more than a decade, Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop are now a legally-recognized couple in their home state. Now they want to be recognized as married in every state.

  • On Throwback Thursday: Sen. Tom Coburn and the Bridge to Nowhere

    Chris Casteel | Published: Thu, Dec 18, 2014

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau For an upcoming piece I’m doing on departing Sen. Tom Coburn, The Oklahoman’s awesome archivist and researcher Linda Lynn pulled this 2005 story (below) on Coburn’s floor fight with his colleagues over pork barrel projects, including the Bridge to Nowhere. Look at some of the projects he was trying to […]

  • Dr. No to the end: Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn blocks bills in last day in Senate

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    Departing Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, catches flak for single-handedly blocking approval of legislation addressing terrorism insurance and veteran suicide.

  • Oklahoma Senator-elect James Lankford lands plum committee assignments

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    The Oklahoma City Republican will be busy after taking over for Sen. Tom Coburn next month. He was tapped to serve on Appropriations, Homeland Security, Intelligence and Indian Affairs Committees.

  • U.S. Senate sends president defense bill with full fleet of AWACS, other Oklahoma provisions

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sat, Dec 13, 2014

    Massive defense bill grants small pay raise to active duty troops, prevents another round of base closures and authorizes $111 million in construction at Tinker Air Force Base.

  • Oklahoma's U.S. House members split on spending bill

    Chris Casteel | Published: Fri, Dec 12, 2014

    In the cliff-hanger vote late Thursday night to fund most of the government through September, three of Oklahoma’s House members backed the Republican bill and two opposed it. The bill passed 219-206 and is now before the Senate. Voting for it were Reps. Tom Cole, R-Moore; Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne; and Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville. Opposed were […]

  • Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn gives emotional farewell

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Dec 11, 2014

    In his farewell address, the Oklahoma Republican warns again that a powerful central government is a threat to individual liberty. Coburn is resigning in the next few weeks.

  • Pew poll finds support for gun rights at 21-year high

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Dec 10, 2014

    In a new survey, a majority of Americans say gun rights more important than gun control. It is the first time that more people supported gun rights since the organization began polling the question in 1993.

  • Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn slams federal tax giveaways

    BY CHRIS CASTEEL, Washington Bureau | Updated: Wed, Dec 10, 2014

    In his last report before leaving the Senate, the Muskogee Republican says the tax code favors the wealthy and manipulates the economy. Sen. Tom Coburn criticizes a range of tax breaks, including those for oil and gas companies and Indian tribes.

  • Sen. John McCain pays tribute to Departing Sen. Tom Coburn

    Chris Casteel | Published: Wed, Dec 10, 2014

    Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, paid tribute Wednesday afternoon to departing Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, in a speech on the Senate floor. Coburn and McCain worked closely together on several issues, including the elimination of pork barrel projects. Coburn made several campaign appearances for McCain in 2008, when McCain was the Republican presidential nominee. Coburn, who […]

  • Sen. Tom Coburn criticizes federal tax giveaways in new report

    Chris Casteel | Published: Tue, Dec 9, 2014

    In his last report on government waste before leaving Congress, Sen. Tom Coburn on Tuesday detailed hundreds of billions of dollars in federal tax giveaways, including ones for some of the nation’s richest corporations and individuals. Coburn, R-Muskogee, even took on tax breaks for the oil and gas industry _ breaks that have been targeted […]

  • D.C. Notes: Oklahoma's share of federal spending below national average

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sun, Dec 7, 2014

    Chris Casteel: D.C. Notes for Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

  • U.S. House sends on defense bill protecting AWACS at Tinker Air Force Base

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    Legislation negotiated by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe would also boost the amount of money for aircraft maintenance, the main activity at the sprawling base. Bill now goes to Senate, where Sen. Tom Coburn could stall progress.

  • Tinker Air Force Base's entire fleet of AWACS planes would survive another year under defense bill

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Dec 2, 2014

    Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe protects planes against Air Force proposal to cut seven of the 27. Rep. Tom Cole already has secured funding for all 27 of the command-and-control planes.

  • U.S. Supreme Court rejects Tulsa police captain's lawsuit over Islamic event

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Mon, Dec 1, 2014

    A Tulsa police officer was punished for not requiring attendance at an Islamic group’s law enforcement appreciation event, and his religion-based lawsuit failed at every level of federal court.

  • High court rejects case of Tulsa police officer who refused to attend Islamic event

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Mon, Dec 1, 2014

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a Tulsa police officer who sued the city after a controversy over attending an event held by an Islamic group. Without comment, the high court declined to review the case of Paul Campbell Fields, who refused to attend or assign others to attend a law […]

  • David Boren, Jim Inhofe still shaping Oklahoma's future

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    Forty years ago, David Boren beat Jim Inhofe in the Oklahoma governor’s race. Inhofe, now a U.S. senator, vowed to leave politics, but he stuck around. And he and Boren, the University of Oklahoma’s longtime president, are still major influences in the state.

  • Sen. Jim Inhofe, Rep. Tom Cole respond to Hagel resignation

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    Sen. Jim Inhofe,  of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is being made a “scapegoat” by the Obama administration. Inhofe strongly opposed Hagel’s nomination last year and worked hard against it. But in a statement released after Hagel announced his resignation, Inhofe seemed to […]

  • D.C. Notes: Oklahoma legislators' influence should grow in Congress

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    Rep. Frank Lucas spent several years working his way to the top spot on the House Agriculture Committee. Once he became chairman, in 2011, he fought for three years to get a sweeping farm bill passed; it was arguably the most significant legislation in the past two years that made it through both houses and got signed into law.

  • Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma lawmakers react to president's speech on illegal immigration

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    Oklahoma lawmakers react to Obama’s immigration plans.