Hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-state donations are being pumped into the races of Oklahoma legislative candidates from both parties, according to the latest campaign finance reports. Democrats are outspending Republicans in reports filed by state affiliates of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee. Both are tax-exempt political groups that can raise unlimited funds for political activity under federal tax laws. Republicans are spending the money on last-minute TV and radio ads, and mailings on behalf of state Senate candidates in competitive races. That includes more than $380,000 this month on behalf of Senate candidates in Tulsa, Stillwater, Norman, Lawton and eastern Oklahoma. Its Democratic counterpart has spent more than $500,000 since August on campaign research, polling and TV advertising, according to reports filed with the state Ethics Commission. The reports did not detail which Oklahoma races the group is supporting or opposing. The national groups are organized under the same federal tax-exempt laws as Moveon.org and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. They are known as 527 groups after the section of Internal Revenue Service code regulating them.
Who are the donors?According to donor information filed with the IRS, a number of Oklahoma companies or tribes have donated to the Republican State Leadership Committee, including Devon Energy Corp. ($500,000); Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc. ($20,000); and the Cherokee Nation ($25,000). Among the large Oklahoma donors to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee are Tulsa’s Anchor Stone Co. ($25,000); First United Bank & Trust Co. in Durant ($15,000); Cherokee Nation ($50,000); Choctaw Nation ($50,000); Chickasaw Nation ($25,000); and the Oklahoma AFL-CIO union ($10,000).