Mullin asked the Federal Election Commission, which enforces federal election laws, for an advisory opinion May 1 about whether his plumbing company ads should be considered electioneering communications. Such communications are typically run by outside groups, and the law was aimed at giving the public information about the source of funding.
The six-member commission deadlocked late Wednesday after voting on two different proposals — one that would have declared that the plumbing company ads weren't
Neither got the four votes necessary for approval.
Comments from opponents
The commission received public comments from six Oklahomans, including one of Mullin's Republican opponents, Wayne Pettigrew. Some of the comments said Mullin has promoted his company through his campaign ads and that the two sets of ads had become indistinguishable.
Pettigrew, of McAlester, told the commission that the plumbing company ads appear to present “an open and shut case of electioneering and use of corporate resources to benefit a candidate and to garner additional support through corporate advertising.”
J.T. Russell, campaign manager for Dakota Wood, one of Mullins' opponents, said in a statement Thursday that the FEC matter showed Mullin “could be misusing corporate resources in his campaign.”