Updated with video: Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett today released an advertisement bringing current City Councilor G.T. Bynum’s dual position as a Washington D.C. lobbyist into question.
“Councilor Bynum’s simultaneous position as both a lobbyist and a city councilor is a gross conflict-of-interest,” Bartlett said. “The citizens of Tulsa elected Bynum as a city councilor to represent their interests exclusively. When he goes to Washington D.C. representing the citizens of other municipalities like Claremore, Bartlesville, or Miami to bring funding to their cities and not ours, I see that as a breach of the taxpayers trust.”
Bynum began his lobbying firm Capitol Ventures Government Relations the subsequent year after becoming a City Councilor in 2008. According to the firm’s website, they have offices in both Tulsa and Washington D.C.
Bartlett voiced additional concerns by raising the questions, “When he walks into the office of a Congressman or Senator in Washington D.C, do they know in what capacity he is there for? Is he there to lobby for other cities, special interests, or is he there for Tulsa?
“Who does he advocate for first, the citizens of Tulsa that elected him or the special interests and other cities that pay him, or does he mix these interests together in the same interactions?”
Looking beyond the ethical dilemma of Councilor Bynum’s dubious activities, Bartlett said, “The stark difference in our career backgrounds speaks to our different styles of governance. I served our county in the Air National Guard, I’m a farmer, and I’ve been a business owner for decades, while my opponent has worked almost exclusively in the public sector in either Washington D.C. or Tulsa. A lobbyist would run a city drastically different than a businessman would, and that is an important distinction to make and to recognize.”
Bartlett said that he would not be surprised if Bynum, who has been a city councilor and a lobbyist longer than Bartlett has been mayor, says that Bartlett has resorted to negative campaigning. However, if Bynum agrees that this information is, in fact, negative then perhaps he should choose a different career, but serving other special interests in front of government while simultaneously serving our interests as an elected official are not compatible.
Bartlett concluded when he said, “This is an important question for Tulsa. Is Washington D.C. experience as a lobbyist the right experience for Tulsa? I contend that it is not.”