Oklahoma's election candidate finance reporting system called unreliable

by Randy Ellis Modified: December 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm •  Published: December 16, 2013
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Oklahoma's electronic filing system for reporting candidate campaign finance information and lobbying expenditures is outdated and unreliable, said Lee Slater, executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.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.

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by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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I certainly don't want to be responsible for spending money that is not in the best interest of the people of Oklahoma.”

Lee Slater,
executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission

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