OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Wednesday, Governor Kevin Stitt announced the creation of a campaign finance and election threats task force while calling on lawmakers to introduce legislation.
Governor Stitt issued Executive Order 2023-29, creating the Campaign Finance and Election Threats Task Force to rigorously assess campaign finance, scrutinize foreign investment, and combat foreign interference in Oklahoma elections.
“I’m proud to report that Oklahoma is a national leader in election integrity,” “But we must not rest on our laurels. Instead, we must ensure that our elections and political processes are not tainted by other government investment and interference.”Governor Kevin Stitt
The Task Force will:
1. Identify the ways in which Oklahoma is leading the nation in election security;
2. Identify any campaign finance loopholes that need to be closed and identify the nature of any government interference in state elections;
3. Design, for the Legislature’s benefit as it considers drafting common-sense legislation to curtail any interference in our politics, a mechanism or process by which the state can detect the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation against the peace and dignity of the State of Oklahoma.
In his 2023 State of the State Address, Governor Stitt called for stronger transparency laws, saying, in part: “Protecting Oklahomans means protecting the integrity of our elections… A democracy is doomed when special interests can spread lies and leverage blank checks to buy elections.”
The Task Force shall be composed of 9 members:
1. The Chair, selected by the Governor;
2. Paul Ziriax, Secretary of the State Election Board;
3. Josh Cockroft, Secretary of State;
4. A county election board member from a county with a population of 50,000 or more, selected by the Chair;
5. A county election board member from a county with a population of 49,999 or less, selected by the Chair;
6. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate, or designee;
7. The Speaker of the House, or designee;
8. Two at-large members, appointed by the Governor, with expertise in matters relating to campaign finance, election, privacy, or ethics.
“Although federal law already prohibits contributions, donations, expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals to any federal, state, or local election, the State of Oklahoma may need additional clarity and legal safeguards to ensure our state election, initiative, and referendum processes are as free and equal as possible,” said Governor Stitt.