The Chamber weighs in; TulsaBizPac issues endorsements; Ewing responds

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TulsaBizPac, the political action committee formed by Tulsa Metro Chamber, a city contractor, to influence the selection of the public officials who will decide whether those contracts will continue, has announced an odd assortment of full endorsements, partial endorsements, and non-endorsements that nevertheless come with a tidy sum of cash.

Strangely, TulsaBizPac hasn't made these endorsements and all-but-endorsements available on a website accessible to the general public. Although the Chamber announced in a June 27, 2011, website story that TulsaBizPac was accepting contributions, they haven't used that venue as yet to declare their endorsements and contributions to the public. None of the local TV stations appear to have the story, nor do the news/talk radio stations. My own requests for information about TulsaBizPac endorsements have gone unanswered.

So the Chamber's PAC must not be very proud of their endorsements, as it appears they only released the info to one friendly news outlet.

Candidates that were willing to participate were quizzed by Chamber leaders about their views on the Tulsa Metro Chamber's 2011 Issues Platform. Given the number of controversial statements therein, anyone accepting the Chamber's endorsement or contribution (which is tantamount to an endorsement), has some explaining to do, to set out clearly where he or she agrees and disagrees with the Chamber's positions on the issues

And one such candidate has explained himself. Blake Ewing, one of the candidates for the District 4 Republican nomination, and one of two (along with Liz Hunt), who will receive a $1,000 contribution, has set out on his blog, in great detail, his interaction with the Chamber and with Karl Ahlgren, in their evidently separate election efforts, and point-by-point, how he responded to questions about the Chamber's Issues Platform. There's a lot to digest, but I appreciate his candor. He goes into great detail about Ahlgren's recruiting efforts and the apparently associated group trying to solicit contributions to a slate of candidates, and the Chamber interview process. (I was intrigued to read that Liz Hunt, prior to deciding to run for City Council, offered to help direct resources to Ewing's campaign.)

Ewing has decided to accept the Chamber's contribution but to donate it to charity, rather than use it for his campaign, and is asking blog readers to suggest, in the comments to his entry, which non-profit should receive the Chamber's money.

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The A Team said:

I am reluctant to accept Blake Ewing's excuses and explanations about his involvement with the Chamber as the genuine article.

My skepticism increases the more I try to make sense out of the some of the evasive responses he reported giving to the Chamber on his blog.

I'd really like to hear his responses to the Tulsa County GOP platform and about what he supports or opposes in it.

Ron MacLeod said:


I have a real problem when funding comes up before the City Council for the Metro Chamber of Commerce. Do we need to bring up an ethics question before the City Council before any vote for any funding? Lets have all councilors raise their hand as to who took money.

Good point -- they wouldn't have a quorum if everyone who took TulsaBizPAC money recused himself.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 21, 2011 11:47 PM.

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