14 former political candidates sued for by watchdog agency
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has filed more than a dozen lawsuits in a crackdown on former candidates who file campaign reports late or not at all.
The watchdog agency sued former state Sen. Anastasia Pittman and 13 other ex-candidates for public office, The Oklahoman reported . It also sued two political action committees and two lobbyists.
Documents filed Thursday assert the Ethics Commission made repeated efforts to collect the debts by certified mail and email before suing. The maximum fee allowed for each late report is $1,000.
Ashley Kemp, executive director of the Ethics Commission, warned that it would be going to court over unpaid debts once or twice a year “beginning now.”
“The citizens of Oklahoma expect candidates and political committees to file timely and accurate reports that disclose how much money was raised or spent for state campaigns,” Kemp said.
Most of the former candidates being sued ran for state legislative seats. Pittman, an Oklahoma City Democrat, was elected to the state House in 2006 and the state Senate in 2014. She lost to Republican Matt Pinnell in the November general election for lieutenant governor.
The Ethics Commission asked a judge to order Pittman to pay $1,100 for filing reports late from her 2014 Senate campaign and $1,000 for filing a late report from her 2018 lieutenant governor campaign.
The watchdog agency has faced criticism in the past for spotty efforts in going after unpaid debt.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com