Records Show Top Donors to State Question Campaigns

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state-questions-ballotTwo national nonprofits and a major out-of-state corporation are some of the million-dollar donors to campaigns for state questions appearing on the ballot.

Voters will be asked to decide seven state questions, among them an education tax, wine and strong beer in grocery stores, farming rights and changes to the criminal justice system.

Supporters of a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase to fund teacher raises and other educational initiatives have generated nearly $4 million in contributions, while a group supporting criminal justice measures has raised more than $3 million, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.

Walmart has given more than $1.6 million to a campaign to update the state’s liquor laws, making the Arkansas-based business by far that proposal’s top funder.

Below are the total contributions and top donors to major political action committees taking a stance on one of the seven state questions. Totals are through Sept. 30 and include in-kind donations of goods and services.

Oklahoma’s Children, Our Future (supports SQ 779)
Total contributions: $4,277,639
Top contributors
Stand for Children (Portland, Ore.): $1,381,077
Stacy Schusterman (chair of Samson Energy Company): $1 million
National Education Association: $500,000
Chickasaw Nation (and related entities): $500,000
Tulsa Community Foundation: $300,000
David Boren (president of the University of Oklahoma): $167,000

Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform (supports SQ 780 & 781)
Total contributions: $3,685,617
Top contributors
American Civil Liberties Union (New York): $3,542,261
Devon Energy: $25,000
BancFirst: $20,000
Clayton Bennett (Oklahoma City Thunder owner): $20,000
George Kaiser Family Foundation: $20,000
The Tom L. Ward Family Foundation: $20,000

Yes on 792 Inc.
Total contributions: $2,013,042
Top contributors
Walmart Stores Inc.: $1,613,507
Greater Oklahoma City Chamber: $100,000
QuikTrip: $25,000
EZ GO Stores: $2,000

Farmers Care SQ 777 (supports measure)
Total contributions: $1,004,161
Top contributors
Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.: $400,000
Oklahoma Pork Council: $166,310
Charlotte Lucas (owner, Lucas Cattle Co.): $75,000
Joe Neal Hampton (president and CEO of Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association): $19,100
Livestock Marketing Association (Kansas City, Mo.): $15,000

Oklahoma Food Farm & Family Inc. (opposes SQ 777)
Total contributions: $703,985
Top contributors
Oklahoma Rising Inc.: $702,485
Oklahoma Stewardship Council Inc. (opposes SQ 777)
Total contributions $247,107
Top contributors
Humane Society of the United States: $177,069
Randi Kanady (office manager at Echo Energy): $20,100
Anne Schulte (consultant Ranger Oil Company Inc.): $10,000