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Oklahoma Gov. Stitt, task force call for unlimited donations from individuals to candidates

Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks at the 2024 Governor's Arts Awards.
Kriea Arie
Legislative Service Bureau
Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks at the 2024 Governor's Arts Awards.

A task force created by Gov. Kevin Stitt proposes eliminating the cap on how much money state politicians can accept from individual campaign donors.

Right now, a candidate on the ballot for a primary, runoff and general election can receive just shy of $10,000 from an individual.

The task force argues so-called dark money groups that raise unlimited funds can take advantage of their own set of rules to attack candidates with impunity.

Unlimited donations from individuals to candidates could level that playing field, according to the task force. They propose taking the cap off what donors can give. Oklahoma would be in a small minority of states like Texas and Oregon that allow for unlimited donations from individual donors.

“Oklahoma can, and should, reverse the paradigm that our candidates have operated under—at a disadvantage to independent expenditures—that subjects the contributions they receive to full public disclosure and limits under false concerns about influence that do not account for the millions of dollars spent against them with scant disclosure,” the task force report says.

Changes the governor wants to see

Ultimately, Stitt is asking the legislature, Election Board and Ethics Commission to make the changes the task force recommends.

Stitt’s office is specifically calling for reforms such as:

  • Banning ranked-choice voting.
  • Ensure efficient protection by regulating the use of artificial intelligence.
  • Increasing the individual contributing reporting requirement from $50 to $200.
  • Banning foreign expenditures and adding additional disclosure requirements to independent expenditure filings.
  • Partnering with tribal nations to increase communication and cooperation to resolve election crimes and campaign finance violations.

You can read the full task force report here.

Oklahoma election security

Stitt — and the task force itself — also stressed that Oklahoma’s elections are secure.

"Oklahomans can rest assured that the elections in our state are the most well-run in the nation,” he said in a statement I encourage my colleagues in the Legislature to review and adopt these recommendations so we can continue leading the nation in election integrity."

Oklahoma has had a number of post-election audits in recent months that have affirmed election results.

In the wake of one of those audits, Secretary of the State Election Board Paul Ziriax said in a written statement, they are proof the state’s system is working.

“The accuracy of Oklahoma election results has been confirmed, time and time again, through both manual post-election audits and candidate-requested recounts,” Ziriax said. “With time-tested laws and procedures, and very accurate voting devices, Oklahomans can feel confident in their elections.”

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Robby grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Journalism degree. Robby has reported for several newspapers, including The Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia. He reported for StateImpact Oklahoma from 2019 through 2022, focusing on education.
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