Regalado plays La Raza card

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You saw it here first, back on February 25. BatesLine broke the story of maximum or near maximum donations by 16 executives and employees of ISTI Plant Services to Tulsa County sheriff candidate Vic Regalado, many of them of apparently modest means.

On Tuesday, officers of the Tulsa County Democratic Party issued a press release to request the Oklahoma Ethics Commission to investigate those contributors as possible "straw donors" -- giving money on behalf of someone else as a way of evading legal limits on campaign contributions.


Today the Tulsa County Democratic Party made a formal request for an immediate investigation to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission (the agency that regulates political campaign contributions) and to other Oklahoma law enforcement agencies, including the Tulsa and Rogers Counties District Attorneys and the the Attorney General, of possible straw donors to the Vic Regalado for Sheriff Campaign.

Recent media reports have called into question more than a dozen substantial contributions to the Regalado campaign, made by employees of ISTI Plant Services, a Rogers County based Port of Catoosa manufacturing concern. The contributions total approximately $40,000 and make up about 25% of the campaign's primary election receipts. ISTI employees and their spouses contributed the maximum or near maximum of $2700 each. Most of these donors live in modest middle or working class housing. Several of the spouses do not work outside the home. One donor is a twice convicted felon who had his tax refund intercepted because he could not pay his fines and had to arraign for $50 a month payments. Several of the donors live in Rogers County or are not even registered voters. It is very unusual for such individuals to give such large amounts, strongly suggesting others provided the funds, others who must have maxed out on donations.

Jo Glenn, Tulsa Democratic Party Chair stated with regard to the ethics complaint: "It is time for the light of day to shine on where these donors got the funds to make maximum contribution in a local Sheriff's race. The authorities need to ask the tough questions and examine the financial records of these individuals to make sure they are contributing their own funds and not the funds from some other affluent supporters."

Tulsa County Democratic Party Vice Chair Greg Bledsoe said: "The strong circumstantial evidence leads to just one conclusion: someone else other than the contributor supplied the funds. Someone is trying to buy this election. The Tulsa Democratic Party calls on the Vic Regalado Campaign to return the questionable funds immediately."

Candidate Regalado crashed the Democrats' press conference and played the race card (more precisely, the ethnicity card) to question the motives of those making the accusations:

Regalado called the ethics investigation request "political posturing at its best" and said he welcomes any investigation. He said those donors "are excited about the prospect" of the first Hispanic sheriff to be elected in Tulsa County.

"I truly believe this is the political equivalent of racial profiling," Regalado said.

As Greg Bledsoe noted, not all of the donors in question have Hispanic surnames, and there was, as BatesLine reported previously, a similar cluster of large donations from ISTI-connected donors to Tulsa County District Attorney candidate Brian Crain, who is not Hispanic as far as I am aware.

Regalado is either naive or disingenuous to claim that this request for an investigation is "the political equivalent of racial profiling" and to claim that there's no probable cause to investigate. As a conservative Republican, I've had enough of people playing the race card to deflect valid criticism of the policies and ethics of elected officials. I will not vote for a candidate to be the top law enforcement officer in our county if he hurls unfounded accusations of racism and pretends not to see a pattern that hints strongly of illegal activity.

The reason we're having a special election for sheriff is because the previous sheriff, Stanley Glanz, was beset of accusations of donors buying their way into the reserve deputy program, with the sheriff turning a blind eye to irregularities in certification. Chris Miyata, commenting on Facebook, wrote:

Let's get out the Glanz playbook.
  • Accept excessive funds by those who wish to have a strong influence over the Sheriffs department.
  • Only speak out against allegations of corruption, when the outside entity that brought corruption to the department faces legal punishments for their action.
  • Use direct and indirect intimidation to silence critics

When corruption goes unnoticed until the threat of punishment looms overhead speaks to either being complacent in addressing ethical problems or complicit. Neither is an attribute that I'd like to see in our new sheriff.

Joe Chandler commented on the same thread:

I'm more conservative than you'd believe, but this "Republican" is an embarrassment. If he can't see that there is reason to take a hard look at all that cash coming from one, almost unanimous group formed by the employees of one small company, he's not much of an investigator. Couple that with what must have felt like an intimidation attempt in his showing up at the meeting and we have a problem.

While I was disappointed in Luke Sherman's loss in the March 1 special primary, I was open to the possibility that Vic Regalado could be a decent sheriff, despite the heavy giving from the local powers that be and this odd cluster of giving from people connected with one Rogers County company. Regalado's actions and statements at the press conference on Tuesday have convinced me that he is the wrong man for the job. Whether Regalado wins or loses on April 5, I'll be voting for Luke Sherman in the June primary for the next four-year term.

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It's ridiculous. Tomorrow we'll vote for a sheriff to fill the remaining eight months of the unexpired term of Stanley Glanz, and then a week later candidates will file to run for the full four-year term that begins on January 1, 2017. Glanz resigned o... Read More

Here are my recommended votes in the Tulsa County special election on April 5, 2016, for the unexpired term for Tulsa County Sheriff and county and municipal sales tax propositions. Links lead to more detailed information or earlier blog entries. (Thi... Read More

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 9, 2016 11:34 AM.

Vision Tulsa forum tonight (Tuesday, March 8, 2016) was the previous entry in this blog.

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