Arnold Hamilton, editor of The Oklahoma Observer, published an excellent article last week about the lack of interest among legislators to become part of a No Gifts List.
The list, which was created by Common Cause Oklahoma, allows legislators to vow they won’t accept gifts from people trying to influence legislation. So far, according to Hamilton’s article, only two legislators have signed up. They are state Rep. Jason Murphey, a Guthrie Republican, and state Sen. Andrew Rice, an Oklahoma City Democrat.
In his article, Hamilton asks: “Where is everybody else?”
The truth is, the No Gifts List doesn’t set well with many legislators who don’t want attention drawn to the fact they enjoy being wined, dined and otherwise feted by state government’s army of special interest professionals.
According to the Common Cause Oklahoma website, another legislator has since joined the No Gifts List. The legislator is state Rep. Charles Key, an Oklahoma City Republican.
The No Gifts List urges legislators to accept this pledge:
I will allow Common Cause Oklahoma, a nonpartisan, good government group to post my name on a “No Gifts List,” on Common Cause Oklahoma’s website. My name on this list provides a way by which I and lobbyists can establish a public relationship based on professionalism and end constituent perceptions that Oklahoma public officials and lobbyists engage in an inappropriate game of quid pro-quo. By allowing Common Cause Oklahoma to post my name to the “No Gifts List,” I’m showing my commitment to good government and my high concern for ethics.
Read Hamilton’s insightful article, “Leveling The Playing Field,” on the issue. The Oklahoma Observer continues to offer intelligent, progressive commentary and articles. Hamilton took over the leadership of the publication from Frosty Troy, the journal’s longtime editor. Here is the journal’s subscription information.