Editor’s Note: Excerpted with permission.
Analysis: The V1SUT Vantage has extensively covered the activities of Danielle Ezell (Heartland Campaigns; Mattise Group) and her efforts to shield the identities of the big spending, special interests fueling Joy Hofmeister’s (D) gubernatorial campaign. Voters must endure the seemingly endless stream of inaccurate mailers and malicious media buys attacking Hofmeister’s opponent, incumbent Kevin Stitt (R), but they are not allowed to learn whose money is making them possible.
This brief Midterm Minute:
The Shadiest of Politics – Will the Oklahoma Ethics Commission Ever Step Up?
An Anonymous $600K Media Buy Reported 2 Months Past the OEC Deadline
Mystery PAC “Imagine This Oklahoma” Continues to Conceal Its Funder(s)
Hofmeister’s Debate Rhetoric Clashes with Her Political Tactics
Who Will Joy Hofmeister Really Serve?
Those who’ve read the How to Steal a State series in its entirety understand this to be Hofmeister’s successful, cyclical M.O., but we believe voters have a right to know who’s pulling Hofmeister’s puppet strings before they head to the polls.
Most of the approximately $20 million pushing Hofmeister is truly dark money funneled through 501 (c)(4) “social welfare” entities that allow unlimited donation amounts and total anonymity to donors. This series has already uncovered ties from portions of this dark money to the cannabis industry, Oklahoma’s Native tribes and the gaming industry, but much remains in the shadows.
Hofmeister’s Ezell Continues to Subvert Ethics Commission Reporting Rules
However, some campaign laws do exist to ensure the voter’s right to transparency inside Political Action Committees (PACs) which must report donors, amounts, media buys and expenditures regularly through the Oklahoma Ethics Commission (OEC), the state agency that oversees all such activity. Unfortunately, Hofmeister and Ezell have found a way to keep those disclosures from voters until after the election by simply not following the rules. This publication previously reported on Danielle Ezell’s reporting loss of $219,000 in dark money related to OEC reporting for The Oklahoma Project, a cannabis industry funded attack PAC formed to disparage Hofmeister’s opponent. There appear to be no consequences for failing to follow the law under OEC’s oversight.
Imagine This Oklahoma PAC’s Anonymous $600K Media Buy Reported 2 Months Past the OEC Deadline
When PACs hit the airways with media buys over $5,000, disclosures of those buys are required to be made to the OEC in advance of airing and on the next business day following the purchase of the airtime. This allows voters to link political ad messages with their senders (and funders) in real-time.
Yesterday (October 20th), Ezell’s Imagine This Oklahoma, which has yet to report any donations, donors or funding details, finally uploaded the required report (above) disclosing a $600,000 August media buy in support of “HOFMEISTER, JOY, GOVERNOR” that should have been reported no later than August 22nd. Forget just putting the cart before the horse, as the cargo is apparently leading this effort, with the cart, horse and especially the driver remaining incognito and arriving two months late.
No one yet knows who might be behind this PAC but they can be two months late reporting a huge media buy as their first official disclosure.
Is anyone awake at the OEC?
As previously reported, Ezell’s Imagine This Oklahoma PAC was filed with the OEC on July 29th, making its first full reporting of donors, amounts and expenditures due within the OEC’s online Guardian system on October 31, 2022, for the period ending July-September. The V1SUT Vantage already predicted this reporting will strategically be late (perhaps November 9th) or be woefully incomplete with an addendum or two coming in after the election with the identity of the PAC’s major funder.
Perhaps Oklahomans should contact their state representatives to demand OEC ensure Imagine This Oklahoma reports its donors by October 31st as required.
Tulsa Today addendum: