To Disclose or Not to Disclose

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Some candidates made it clear why they refused to provide details about their personal finances as requested by Oklahoma Watch. Others provided many details. Here are some candidate responses.

>Linda Murphy, Republican for superintendent of public instruction: “I’m not saying I’m against (disclosing the information), but I’m getting ready to go out of town and everyday I’m just booked. If my opponent released hers, I’d probably release mine.”

Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony, who released some information: “Commissioner Anthony commends your efforts to improve financial transparency by candidates and elected officials.  Too many people enter politics to pursue their own self-interest or their own personal financial gain … Commissioner Anthony respectfully declines to make public his tax returns.  No candidate at any level of government is required to do so, and such an invasive requirement compelling a comparably blunt instrument of ‘disclosure’ could have a chilling effect on recruiting good candidates for public office.”

>Blake Cummings, Democrat for corporation commissioner: “I’m not planning to release anything right away. Once I’m a public employee, it’s a given I’ll do it, but as a private citizen I don’t want to. I don’t mind telling people I don’t have a lot of money and my campaign funds show that. It’s not like I have anything to hide. If our president is sitting up there not releasing his year after year, I don’t think I should, and there is a lot more to worry about in his than mine.”

>Gaylene Stupich, campaign aide for Cathy Costello, Republican for labor commissioner: “We are just not interested. We are swamped with campaigning and that’s a lot of personal information to disclose.”

>John Yeutter, Libertarian candidate for state auditor and inspector: “One of my core values is to seek transparency from the government to its citizens. Because of this, I am pleased to attached a voluntary disclosure of limited personal finance information.”

>Charlie Prater, Republican for auditor and inspector: “Disclosing financial information is like disclosing medical information. I’m not going to disclose that to the public. If you are dealing with the Russians, you should disclose that, but if you’re talking about stocks or bonds, I’m not going to do that. If you have any dealings with state government, you should disclose that, especially for someone running for auditor. But I don’t do any business with state agencies and I don’t have any reason to be engaged with them except for getting a driver’s license.”

>Randy McDaniel, Republican for state treasurer: “I value transparency, but it must be tailored to safeguard against identity theft, misuse and fraud. I will continue to comply with all the required financial disclosures, but not unofficial requests that fail to ensure the protection of personal information.”

>Drew Edmondson, Democratic candidate for governor, who released many financial details and two years of tax returns: “For voters to make informed decisions, they must know more about the candidates than what they learn from sound bites and 30-second ads.”

>Chris Powell, Libertarian for governor, who summarized his finances: “I have privacy concerns both about releasing documents with personal information as well as a reluctance to release detailed information about my family.  It is one thing to place myself in the public arena and entirely another to drag my wife and children into the glare of the spotlight.” He added, “But if I were in the governor’s chair and they passed a bill that required candidates to release some level of disclosure, I would sign that bill.”