Oklahoma's electronic filing system for reporting candidate campaign finance information and lobbying expenditures is outdated and unreliable, said Lee Slater, executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.
In fact, the system is so unreliable that it should be scrapped — even if that means the state has to revert to a paper reporting system after the 2014 election cycle, Slater told Ethics Commission members.
“Nobody wants to do that,” Slater said. “It does not serve our enforcement needs. It does not serve the needs of the public.”
The current electronic system has even bigger problems.
Sometimes candidates file electronic campaign contribution reports with the Ethics Commission, but when they go online to look at them, they can't be found, Slater said.
The computational part of the current system also does not function properly, so it can't be trusted to properly calculate the cumulative contributions that an individual has made to a campaign, he said.
“There are so many problems with existing software that we have to look at developing a complete new system,” Slater said.
Ideally, the commission would like to be able to purchase a new software system that would not only present the correct information online, but also make that information searchable for news organizations and others interested in researching how monetary contributions might be influencing politicians.
I certainly don't want to be responsible for spending money that is not in the best interest of the people of Oklahoma.”
executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission