SD 39: NRA backs Amanda Teegarden; State Chamber backs Dave Rader

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1170 KFAQ's Pat Campbell hosted a SD 39 debate between Amanda Teegarden and Dave Rader. Click to listen to the podcast.

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund has endorsed Amanda Teegarden in the Republican runoff for Senate District 39. The race will be resolved in a runoff next Tuesday, August 23, 2016. (Early in-person voting began today and continues Friday from 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm at the Tulsa County Election Board and Hardesty Regional Library.

The NRA awarded Teegarden an AQ -- an A rating based on her questionnaire, the highest rating available to a candidate who has not yet served in office. Her runoff opponent, Dave Rader, received a B rating.

Meanwhile, this past Monday, August 15, 2016, according to Oklahoma Ethics Committee filings for Friends of Dave Rader 2016, Rader received a $2,000 last-minute contribution from "We Mean Business PAC," an arm of the State Chamber of Oklahoma.

As I wrote back in June, if you're a conservative voting in the Republican primary, a good rule of thumb is to see whom the Chambers are supporting then give your vote to some other candidate.

Let me stipulate that Dave Rader is a good man who ran the University of Tulsa football program with integrity and genuine concern for his players as students. In 2003, he served honorably as Tulsa County GOP vice chairman during a difficult time of transition for the county party. I don't think the State Chamber is backing him as their first choice in the SD 39 race -- Oklahoma BizPAC and BOK Financial PAC backed Alan Staab in the primary, while New Direction Fund PAC backed Rick Poplin, both of whom failed to advance to the runoff. Perhaps it boils down to this: The State Chamber pots know they can't influence Amanda Teegarden, who knows how the legislative process works and has settled principles on the proper role of government, but they hope they might be able to sway Dave Rader, who hasn't been actively involved in public matters for over a decade.

I think it's worth repeating some of the specific reasons why a candidate's funding or endorsement by the State Chamber should be of interest and concern to conservative voters to support a different candidate.

As for the State Chamber of Commerce, they joined with the Tulsa, Oklahoma City chambers and the U. S. Chamber in a lawsuit to block implementation of employment-related provisions of HB 1804, provisions that would have required Oklahoma employers to verify the employment eligibility of the people they hired. In other words, the Chambers at all levels worked to take the teeth out of the law, to disarm the provisions that made it an effective deterrent to illegal immigration.

The State Chamber also pushed hard for Obamacare Medicaid expansion (euphemistically called "rebalancing" this year) and Common Core. The State Chamber targeted a strongly pro-business conservative Republican, State Sen. Josh Brecheen, for defeat because he supported Common Core repeal and opposed a special tax cut for energy producers, preferring instead to give general tax relief to the state's taxpayers.

Back in 2007, economist Stephen Moore wrote:

In Oklahoma the state chamber filed a petition with the state Supreme Court to block eminent domain reform, and vowed to fight a taxpayer-led movement to enact a Colorado-style [taxpayer bill of rights].

This transcript of a July 2012 State Chamber meeting in Tahlequah quotes the chamber's lobbyist, Chad Warmington, saying, "the legislature spends a lot of time talking about things that just don't matter - I mean, they want to talk about tax cuts and all that stuff."

Also in 2012, then-State Rep. David Dank bemoaned the role "pro-business" lobbyists played in preserving special interest tax credits at the expense of tax relief for all Oklahomans (hat tip to OCPA's Brandon Dutcher):

Sadly, those same lobbyists who secured sweetheart deals for the beneficiaries of tax credits managed to kill most efforts to reform or repeal them during the 2012 session. We did manage to phase out two of the most abused and wasteful tax credits, but dozens of others are being reinstated in July.

In short, the special interests won and the people lost. A primary reason Oklahoma taxpayers will see no income tax relief next year is that a few favored industries will continue to cash in on the public treasury through a still-broken tax credit system.

I would advise any conservative candidate who receives a contribution from a PAC affiliated with the Oklahoma State Chamber, the Oklahoma City Chamber, or the Tulsa Regional Chamber to return the money immediately. You don't want to be tainted.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 18, 2016 11:09 PM.

Budget-busting Vision Tulsa: "We should have thought through better" was the previous entry in this blog.

SD 25: Lisa Kramer dodges debate, backed by Chambers, unions, dark money PAC is the next entry in this blog.

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