For the past six or so years, Oklahomans for Modern Laws has been funded exclusively by oil and gas investor Sean Campbell, who also is the group's chairman.
According to Oklahoma Ethics Commission records, Campbell has contributed nearly $400,000 to the campaign since 2006. In the past year, his contributions have totaled roughly $56,000.
Howe said Campbell is a friend of his who is independently wealthy.
“He's actually the one who started this thing,” he said. “But I think once he delved into this and realized all of the opposition out there, ... that's when he brought me in.”
But once the petition drive begins in earnest, it's likely additional money will be needed to pay for collecting the signatures.
“It's really a huge amount of effort,” Howe said. “It will end up being at least a $1 million project if it's ever completed.”
Howe said his group tried to go through the legislature to change the state's liquor laws, but those opportunities never panned out.
Roughly six months ago, a legislative task force formed to study the sale of strong beer and wine in certain convenience and grocery stores disbanded after holding just two meetings.
Liquor store owners say they are left out by the proposed changes.
“I have personally almost given up three times,” Howe said.
“But then something will happen. A story will show up online or in the paper, and we start going again.”