Costello quantifies, Murphey describes lobbyist influence in Oklahoma

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MoneyNo commentary from me tonight, but I want you to read an excellent post by State Representative Jason Murphey on how lobbyist influence works and how state Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, who refuses to take campaign contributions from lobbyists, has documented their shifting influence.

Here's Costello on the numbers:

"In 2010, when Republicans held a majority in both chambers, the public employees' PAC contributed $102,750 to Republican candidates. This compares to only $57,750 donated to Democrat candidates in the same year.

"Until we became a majority in the legislature, the public employees' PAC was a long-time political enemy of Republicans; in 2004 the OPEA contributed $86,143 to Democrats in an effort to prevent Republicans from gaining a majority of House seats while contributing $2,500 to a handful of Republicans - a 34 to 1 ratio for Democrats. We won - they lost."

Making the important point that you don't need lobbyist dollars to win an election.

Now here's Murphey:

Since this last legislative week was the first week of the legislative session much of the work was in committees. Lobbyists aggressively work to influence the bills in the committee process because this is the vital first step to passing or defeating a bill. These lobbyists will fill committee meetings, feed questions to the members of the committee who are carrying water for them and will put great pressure on the other members to vote their way. They are professional relationship manipulation experts, and expert strategists and they know the pressure points to push to get a key lawmaker's vote. Their attempts to kill a good bill appear to be rather like a game to them. A team of lobbyist can point to a dead bill much like a trophy and use it as a warning to other legislators who might try to upset their deal. Anyone who believes those big campaign contributions don't factor into the voting consideration of some of the legislators is very much out of touch.

Read the whole thing.

Photo by Flickr user 401K. Visit their site at 401kcalculator.org

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 15, 2012 9:51 PM.

Oklahoma's lovely new election night reporting system was the previous entry in this blog.

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