WASHINGTON — An Oklahoma City fundraiser and a co-worker are leading a group that financed a television ad promoting Rep. James Lankford, according to new documents filed by an Oklahoma City television station.
Trey Richardson, a managing partner of Sagac Public Affairs and GR Pro, is listed as a board member and incorporator of a group called Foundation for Economic Prosperity. The group spent $110,000 on television ad time blasting the health care law and praising Lankford for “preserving our constitutional liberties.”
Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn.
Jeri Richardson and Joel Ritter are listed as board members of the foundation on a new form filed Wednesday by KOCO-5 with the Federal Communications Commission. Ritter is apparently a misspelling of Riter; Joel Riter says on his LinkedIn page that he works at GR Pro.
A public disclosure form filed by Oklahoma City television stations last month did not include the names of any leaders with the Foundation for Economic Prosperity. And it’s still not clear how it was organized and whether it will have to disclose its donors.
So-called “dark money” groups have proliferated in recent years, pouring millions of dollars into campaign and issues ads and keeping the donors secret. The groups are not allowed to coordinate with candidates.
A dark money group called Oklahomans for a Conservative Future has reported spending more than $435,000 on behalf of state Rep. T.W. Shannon, a Lawton Republican who is also running for Coburn’s seat. That group organized under a section of the tax law that allows it to keep its donors secret, but it incorporated publicly so its leaders were known.
The Oklahoman last month tried to track down leaders of the pro-Lankford group, but could find no public documents that named them.
Trey Richardson and Riter recently formed two separate political action committees in Oklahoma City with Economic Prosperity in the name. Neither returned repeated phone calls or emails last month requesting information about whether they were also connected to the Foundation for Economic Prosperity.
The new form from KOCO was part of a slew of amended filings the station made with the FCC that disclosed more information about the committees buying time for political ads. None of the other Oklahoma City stations has updated their information about the pro-Lankford group.