Patrick B. McGuigan
State Senator Clark Jolley of Edmond, a Republican seeking reelection in the June 26 primary, filed the legally required statement of organization (SO-1) for his reelection campaign this year, months after he had started his reelection drive. He filed the new SO-1 long after his race for attorney general – which ended in 2010 – was over.
Jolley carried over to his Senate campaign money raised for that race for Attorney General. Use of carryover funds is permissible if a new SO-1 form is filed in a timely manner. In any election cycle, donation limits remain in place.
The SO-1 form for Jolley’s 2012 Senate reelection campaign first appeared online in state Ethics Commission records last month, dated April 1, 2012. However, Jolley began raising money for reelection to the Senate as early as December.
Instructions provided to all candidates who file finance reports with the Ethics Commission specify that when they raise or expend $500 for a campaign, it must be reported. Indeed, if changes to a statement of organization occur, they are to be reported “no later than 10 days after a change (except officer vacancies).”
On the website of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission a question is posed and answered on the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) page which appears to govern the fact situation across Jolley’s campaign(s) since 2009. That question, and the answer, follows:
What registration and reporting is required of a candidate who runs for an elective office?
“A statement of organization [Form SO-1) must be filed by a candidate committee no later than ten days after accepting or expending $500 or filing a declaration of candidacy, whichever is earlier. A candidate committee which does not plan to accept contributions or make expenditures exceeding $500 in the aggregate may file an affidavit of minimal activity with the Ethics Commission so stating which shall exempt that committee from filing required reports [257:10-1-13(c)(3)]. A candidate must file a statement of financial interests [Form F-1R] no later than 10 days after filing a declaration of candidacy. This form may be filed anytime between January 1 and the tenth day after filing a declaration of candidacy. A campaign contributions and expenditures report [Form C-1R] or statement of inactivity [Form C-3R], if appropriate, is due quarterly by January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31, to include financial activity as of December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30, respectively. In an election year, a pre-election report is also due no later than eight days, but no earlier than 14 days, before the Primary, Special Primary, Runoff Primary and General or Special General Election. The pre-election report filed prior to the Primary, Runoff Primary and General will substitute for the reports due on July 31 and October 31 for a candidate committee during an election year or a committee supporting or opposing candidates in that election cycle. Reporting is continued until the campaign is concluded and a ‘Final’ report is submitted. A ‘Final’ report may be submitted at any stage in the reporting process based on when and if the candidate's name appears on a ballot, a zero cash balance and final disposition of assets. Submission of a ‘Final’ report concludes all campaign reporting.”
In another response to frequently asked questions, posed concerning situations candidates for public office may encounter, the Ethics Commission notes, “A candidate may not have two committees for the same office open at the same time.”
Senator Jolley’s committee raising money for his Attorney General candidacy (deemed “Friends of Clark Jolley 2010”) was formed on November 16, 2009. On his original SO-1 form, in the space indicating “year of the general election,” Jolley listed “2010.”
The new committee was organized effective April 1, 2012, and deemed “Clark Jolley for Oklahoma Senate 2012.” That form specified his candidacy was for “Senate” in “District 41.”
According to the Ethics Commission’s website, Oklahoma law “allows for an assessment for late filings: for any committee up to $100 per day to a maximum of $1,000 for a registration; for a candidate for a statement of financial interests or a campaign report by his or her candidate committee up to $100 per day to a maximum of $1,000; for a ballot measure committee, up to $1,000 per day to a maximum of $10,000 for a campaign report. If prosecution is sought in district court for a willful failure to file, a maximum fine of $50,000 could be recommended by the Ethics Commission to the district court.”
Through the end of March, Senator Jolley’s aggregate total dollars raised was $336,000. No other candidate now seeking a state Senate position has raised as much. Additionally, Jolley had expenses in excess of $114,000 through March 31, 2012, which included expenses for his Senate candidacy.