State Capitol - Jan 2014 - 2

Feb. 10: Harry Coates Bares It All

Many Oklahoma legislators play it close to the vest on their financial disclosure forms, revealing the minimum on annual filings with  the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.

But state Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, appears to put all of his cards on the table.

State Sen. Harry Coates
State Sen. Harry Coates” credit=” 

The two-page “Statement of Financial Interests” asks for such details as the type of prior-year income from state government and other sources if the amounts exceed $5,000. It also requires listing the names of lobbying firms with which the legislator has done more than $5,000 in business, honoraria over $200, types of securities valued at more than $5,000, fiduciary relationships and other facts. But except for honoraria, the form doesn’t ask for specific amounts.

Coates goes much further.

In a detailed attachment to his last report, in 2012, Coates, a 63-year-old construction consultant, revealed his annual income at $212,200, the amount of cash in two checking accounts ($65,500), and the amount of federal and state income taxes he paid ($47,600). He listed the value of his four proprietorship interests ($144,000 total), and the value of real estate he owns ($585,000 total), not to mention retirement funds ($714,900). Total net worth: about $1.5 million.

His 2013 form said there was no change in his financial situation.

Coates has been in the Senate since 2002 and is term-limited, so he will leave in mid-November.

He said he discloses a lot of financial data because “I just don’t want
want anyone to think I’m hiding something.”

Coates said he usually fills out his statement after preparing similar forms for his taxes each year.

“If you’re going to do it at all, it ought to be detailed,” Coates said. “I don’t think it does a lot of good to fill out the financial part of that if you don’t put the information on there.”

-Carmen Forman

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