Ethics Commission

Cathy Stocker, Chair, Oklahoma Ethics Commission
Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The first phase of the Ethics Commission’s new registration and reporting software system will go live this coming week.

Lobbyists will be the first to use the new system, called The Guardian, for their annual registration, Ethics Commission Deputy Director Ashley Kemp said Tuesday. For the first time, lobbyists will be divided into three classifications – legislative lobbyists, executive lobbyists and legislative liaisons – as result of Ethics Rules adopted earlier this year and ratified by the Legislature.

According to the new rules:

The late Oral Roberts addresses the Oklahoma Senate in 2009 as state Sen. Dan Newberry (R-Tulsa) looks on.
Oklahoma Senate

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint that accused a Republican state senator of not properly reporting campaign expenditures.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party filed the complaint last month against Sen. Dan Newberry of Tulsa. The complaint alleged that Newberry didn't properly disclose expenses in his campaign finance reports.

Cathy Stocker, Chair, Oklahoma Ethics Commission
Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission approved a policy Friday that limits the amount of information that will be available online from financial disclosure forms.

In a 4-1 vote, the commission decided that only the financial disclosure filers’ names, positions in which they serve and the date the reports were filed will be available online.

Individuals interested in seeing the complete reports will be required to request hard copies from the Ethics Commission.

Cathy Stocker, Chair, Oklahoma Ethics Commission
Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission will hold a series of informal hearings to solicit input from citizens on possible amendments to its Ethics Rules.

Commissioner Karen Long suggested in August that the commission hold the hearings, pointing to a series of meetings in 2013 that were held as the commission prepared to revise its rules completely.

The hearings, she said, helped the commission maintain communication between it and those it regulates.

The first hearing will be held Friday at Rogers State University in Claremore and will begin at 10 a.m.

Cathy Stocker, Chair, Oklahoma Ethics Commission
Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission will consider an amendment to its rules that would permit the agency to collect fees for training events and from lobbyists and campaign committees.

Under the proposed Ethics Rules amendment, the executive director would be authorized to establish and collect registration fees to participants for training and education seminars, classes and similar programs and for related materials.

(Republican, 3rd Congressional District); appointed by Attorney General Scott Pruitt on August 1, 2012; served for 28 years as district attorney for District 4, which includes Garfield, Blaine, Canadian, Grant and Kingfisher counties; served as chairwoman
Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission will seek additional public comment regarding whether its Financial Disclosure Statements will be made available online and, if so, what information they will contain.

The report is required of state officers, certain state employees, and candidates running for office who file declarations of candidacy with the State Election Board.

Currently, the reports are available publicly in printed form only.

Cathy Stocker, Chair, Oklahoma Ethics Commission
Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission will consider a series of proposed amendments to its new rules during upcoming meetings that will be submitted to the Legislature for consideration in 2015. 

The commission held a series of public meetings in 2013 before submitting a completely rewritten version of its rules to the Legislature at the start of the 2014 session. Those rules were adopted when the Legislature did not take action to disapprove or amend them before adjourning sine die. These new rules, largely, do not take effect until Jan. 1, 2015, to allow the current election cycle to be completed under one consistent set of guidelines.

"I think we are going to need to consider some amendments to those rules to be considered in 2015," Ethics Commissioner Executive Director Lee Slater told the commissioners during their meeting Friday.

Slater said several specific issues had been brought to his attention, including the treatment of political parties, the commission's abilities to assess fees and possible punishments for those who commit mid-level rules infractions.

russavia / Creative Commons

The director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission says an audit of the agency has found no financial irregularities.

The audit was requested by Governor Mary Fallin following the resignation in November of long-time Ethics Commission Director Marilyn Hughes and covered the period from July 2009 through November. Such audits are considered routine when an agency head leaves.