Wind power leader denies spying on Oklahoma state lawmaker
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The head of an Oklahoma wind power trade group on Thursday flatly denied a state lawmaker’s suggestion to police that someone connected to the industry put a tracking device on his truck to spy on him.
Oklahoma Wind Coalition Executive Director Mark Yates said in a statement that wind industry representatives are not involved in spying on Republican Rep. Mark McBride of Moore.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater are investigating after McBride found the device Dec 4. When police arrived to investigate, McBride suggested someone connected to the wind industry may have been spying on him. He said he was writing legislation that could negatively affect wind farms.
McBride has been a strong supporter of the oil and gas industry and a vocal critic of subsidies Oklahoma pays to wind companies
McBride called the discovery unsettling and said he stopped hanging out with some of his friends because of it. He has filed a lawsuit seeking to identify whoever is responsible for placing the device on his truck.
Prater said four other GOP legislators approached him last year with concerns they were being followed, but no charges have been filed in connection with those reports. Whether a case rises to the level of criminal charges depends on a number of factors, including why someone is tracking or following a legislator, he said.
In 2014, Prater pursued blackmail and computer crimes charges against a tea party activist who sent an intimidating email to a state senator. The activist was found guilty and fined, but the conviction was later thrown out on appeal.