Gomez post-deadline fundraiser

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I'm told by someone who had been invited that there was a breakfast fundraiser for new District 4 City Councilor Eric Gomez Monday morning (May 5). It was headlined by Congressman Sullivan.

That's interesting timing. The cutoff date for the next ethics report (due May 12) was May 1, so any contributions after that date don't have to be reported until October. (See 51 O.S. 315, paragraphs 4 and 5.)

Still, I would hope Councilor Gomez would see the virtue in including these contributions on his May report. Making the earliest possible disclosure of his list of contributors would help to defuse any concerns or suspicions.

While the letter of the ethics act allows him to delay reporting, the spirit of the law is that the voters should know, preferably before the election, but certainly as soon as possible afterwards, who funded a candidate's campaign and thus might influence his decisions as a public official.

(Cross-posted from a discussion thread on TulsaNow's public forum.)

Some context from my election post-mortem column in UTW:

The result just to the south in District 4 was a surprise, given where the two candidates' finances stood as of the last ethics report. Incumbent Maria Barnes had raised more than $20,000, while challenger Eric Gomez was reporting slightly under $3,000 raised as of two weeks before the election.

If I hadn't seen the reports myself, I would have thought the fundraising advantage belonged to Gomez. Barnes put out a couple of two-color postcards; Gomez mailed expensive glossy four-color brochures. Gomez bombarded voters with robocalls; Barnes had a single automated call, voiced by Mayor Kathy Taylor....

[Gomez consultant Jim] Burdge may have repeated a trick he pulled two years ago. Robert C. Bartlett, no relation to the famous political family, won the 2006 Republican primary in District 4 despite the fact that he had stopped campaigning, probably because of his famous name. As of two weeks before the general election, he had only raised about a thousand dollars, most of which had been spent on photocopied flyers.

Then, suddenly, Bartlett was sending out glossy full-color mailers, was sending out robocalls (including one voiced by Eric Gomez), and had two-color yard signs popping up all over midtown. Clearly the money came in after the final pre-election reporting deadline, so that the source of the money -- probably the development lobby -- couldn't be used as an issue in the campaign.

Post-election reports, including all money raised and spent during the two weeks immediately before the election, are due on May 12. We'll be watching closely to see that the reports are filed and will be very interested in what they reveal.

I guess we'll need to keep an eye on the reports due in October and in January as well.

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XonOFF said:

These after-the-fact campaign fundraisers should be illegal. They definitely come off as direct payola.

Be sure to include the Mayors 'post-election contribution fund' reports when they become available. She made it pretty clear anyone who wanted something done needed to contribute (pay-to-play).

As a citizen, I'm getting pretty sick of it.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 6, 2008 12:29 PM.

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