Senator Corn proposes ‘crackdown’ on lobbyists

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 29-Sep-2010

State Sen. Kenneth Corn, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in the November election, has proposed what he termed “the toughest crackdown in state history” on lobbyists and “special interests.” He unveiled the idea at a state Capitol press conference today (Wednesday, September 29).

In a press release, Corn said he would propose reforms to require the Legislature to comply with open meetings and open records provisions. He said a “stench rising from the dome of the Capitol” has led him to press for intensified disclosure of links between lobbyists, legislators, special interests and groups seeking to influence the legislative process.

Corn said the current voluntary list of legislators who voluntary place themselves on the “no gifts” list is laudable but is not adequate to meet the need for cleaner government.

When a reporter pointed out that the proposal would have to run the gauntlet of a Republican-controlled Legislature, Corn said members on both sides of the aisle want to address the issues he raised. He also said he would reach out to Republicans like state Reps. Jason Murphey of Guthrie and Mike Reynolds of Oklahoma City who have advocated tougher lobbyist regulations in the past.

In response to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Corn “there are a number of groups out here that might be asked” to help monitor the enhanced enforcement of lobbyists strictures which he envisions. He agreed with the suggestion that groups like Common Cause and Oklahomans for Responsible Government might fit that bill. 

Corn told reporters he felt the important factor is to find persons or groups, whether in or outside of government, that have more independence from the legislative process than the House, Senate or the governor. Responding to another question, he said he would support higher fees on registered lobbyists as a means to finance a more robust enforcement posture from the state Ethics Commission.

Corn faces state Sen. Todd Lamb, an Edmond Republican, in the November election.