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.
“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.