Oklahoma Public Employees Association
The Oklahoma Public Employees Association was formed in 1975. It is the largest organization for state employees, representing about 10,000 of the state’s 40,000 workers at more than 120 agencies. The group advocates higher pay, better benefits, improved working conditions and other initiatives the association thinks will help state workers. It also provides help to classified employees when they have issues before the Merit Protection Commission regarding demotions, suspensions or firings. OPEA has eight registered lobbyists at the Capitol. It also has a political action committee. Campaign donations by the committee tripled from $43,372 in the 2006 election cycle to $126,566 in 2008 campaigns, according to an analysis of campaign finance data by The Oklahoman. About half of the association’s members have authorized $2.25 a month of their $15 monthly dues to be given to the political action committee, OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley said. The political action committee is governed by nine trustees who evaluate candidates’ willingness to support state workers when deciding whether the candidates will receive donations.
Totals 2006: $42,372 2008: $126,566 Democrats 2006: $32,172 2008: $71,716 Total: $103,888 Republicans 2006: $10,200 2008: $54,850 Total: $65,050 Source: The Oklahoman analysis of Oklahoma Ethics Commission data Staff writers Paul Monies and John Estus