Controversial Oklahoma bill that would have reversed campaign contribution rules permanently killed

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An ethically controversial bill was pulled off the table almost as quickly as it was introduced after the senate author said it was never meant to become law in the first place.

State Senator Roger Thompson amended HB 3996 earlier this week. His changes would allow campaign contributions to be used for personal expenses, including mortgages, vacations, athletic events, concerts and country club dues.

It didn’t get any support, and the senator said it was never supposed to.

“It was never to be on the floor, it was never to become law, and it’s one of those things that you said, ‘Boy, I wish I hadn’t done that,’” Thompson said Friday.

He said it was a regrettable decision that he made following a contentious budget discussion.

“I’m in budget discussions with the house, and we’re talking about transparency, so I said, ‘You want to talk transparency? I’ll just file a bill and we’ll talk transparency,” Thompson said. “It was filed only to get the attention.”

As soon as it got that attention, he killed the bill. He admitted he should have talked to the Ethics Commission before submitting the provocative legislation.

“I am not aware of really why they would have introduced an amendment that was so, in my opinion, outrageous at the end of session if there wasn’t some kind of an intent behind it to achieve some goal,” said Ethics Commission Executive Director Ashley Kemp.

Kemp said her office is always ready to reevaluate ethics rules at the request of members of the legislature or the public in general.

But in this case, Thompson said he just chose the wrong way to make a point he felt needed to be made.

“You know from the very beginning it’s never going to go anywhere,” Thompson said. “And so this one fell into the same category, and that’s where I am.”

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