A Handful of Lawmakers Accept Few or No Lobbyist Gifts

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Jeff Raymond / Oklahoma Watch

Rep. Jason Murphey placed this sign on the front of his State Capitol office.

Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, is a rarity in the Legislature: He refuses to accept any gifts or meals from a lobbyist.

State ethics records show that the average lawmaker accepted more than $1,100 in meals or gifts from January to June.

Of lawmakers who served the entire session, only three – Murphey; Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton; and Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola – took in less than $100 in gifts or meals.

Jason Murphey

“I’ve just always viewed lobbying as something that helps builds relationships in a way that my constituents don’t have the ability to do,” Murphey said. “And the fact of matter is you can become more beholden to a lobbyist than a constituent who can’t take you to dinner or can’t later direct funds to your campaign.”

Murphey did discover last month that an Oklahoma Farm Bureau lobbyist had reported giving him a coin worth $14.27 in April. He said it was given to him for voting for the group’s interests in the last legislative session. Murphey, who posts a sign on his State Capitol office warning lobbyists he doesn’t accept “item of value,” wrote a check to the Farm Bureau to offset the amount.