Oklahoma Ethics Commission sues state for underfunding

Cropped Photo: Courtesy Wiki Commons / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

OKLAHOMA CITY –  Oklahoma’s watchdog agency is accusing lawmakers of underfunding it in a lawsuit over the agency’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission filed the lawsuit Tuesday asking the state Supreme Court to force the Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin to provide appropriation from the general revenue fund so the agency can perform basic duties.

The lawsuit says the agency’s fiscal 2019 appropriation is insufficient by about $2.6 million. The suit also says the appropriation made to the commission came from the agency’s own revolving fund made up of fees.

The commission’s attorney alleges lawmakers are retaliating against the agency because of new gift restrictions. The commission enforces rules governing state campaigns and ethical conduct.

The House speaker and Senate president pro tem have both declined to comment.