For Immediate Release:
February 22, 2008
Sen. Kenneth Corn
Election Reform Bills Not Heard by Rules
Corn Promises to Continue Reform Effort
Legislation that would have limited the influence
of special interests in Oklahoma political campaigns failed to receive
a hearing prior to the February 21 deadline for approval of legislation
in Senate committees.
Corn filed three election reform measures, including the Oklahoma
Clean Elections Act of 2008. All were assigned to the Rules Committee,
where none were heard. Corn said he was disappointed but will use
every possible avenue to advance the proposals through the legislative
“By approving these bills, we could have sent a message to
the people that we work for them and not special interests,”
said Corn, D-Poteau. “We need to have the courage to do the
right thing and restore integrity to the process.”
Corn said he filed the legislation out of a concern that the average
Oklahoman has been priced out of the political process. Corn said
the costs of campaigning for a seat in the state Legislature have
begun to spiral out of control, with candidates spending up to half
a million dollars in Senate races.
Corn’s legislation would have placed caps on spending in
legislative and statewide races and would have established the Citizens
Clean Elections Fund as a funding source for qualified candidates.
The proposals would have limited primary election spending to $10,000
for legislators, $80,000 for statewide elected offices and $380,000
for Gubernatorial candidates. The bills would have enacted similar
reforms for judicial campaigns, and campaigns for Insurance Commissioner
and Corporation Commissioner.
“As it stands now, candidates for Corporation Commissioner
and Insurance Commissioner can take contributions from the very
businesses they would be charged with regulating,” Corn said.
“Along the same lines, judicial candidates shouldn’t
have to go out and raise money from people who might come before
them on the bench.”
Corn said he would continue working to enact election reform.
“Special interest groups shouldn’t have more influence
in state government than working Oklahomans,” Corn said. “We
need to ensure that the people have access to the system, and currently
that isn’t the case. The average Oklahoman shouldn’t
feel like they need to be wealthy to run for office.”
For more information contact:
Senator Corn's Office: (405) 521-5576