An analysis of post-election fundraising done by Oklahoma Watch revealed some troubling news.
Gov. Kevin Stitt raked in nearly four times more money during his first nine months in office than his predecessor did during a comparable period of her first term. The governor reported contributions totaling nearly $820,000 reported between the 2018 election and Sept. 30, the end of the most recent reporting period.
The analysis found the political newcomer raised almost three times more money than the combined totals reported by seven others who occupy posts filled by a statewide vote. Those seven also won elections in 2018 — some for successive terms — and, like Stitt, will be up for re-election in 2022.
Oklahoma Watch points out the governor's post-election fundraising comes on the heels of a $10.8 million campaign to which he made a $5 million personal loan. While some might describe the governor's fundraising as impressive, we consider the levels seen here as a cause for concern.
While money alone may be innocent enough, there are too many examples of its corrupting influence when it enters the political sphere. It would be naive to think donors expect nothing in return for their campaign contributions, but there is a difference between providing financial support for a candidate who shares an ideology or values and purchasing political favors.
Writing about what he believed to be the folly of congressional efforts to rein in campaign contributions, conservative columnist George Will argues the only "realistic way to reduce the amount of money in politics is to reduce the amount of politics in money." That, he contends, can be accomplished only by limiting "the importance of government in allocating wealth and opportunity."
The latter point made by Will is why the governor's fundraising efforts, policy decisions and appointments deserve close scrutiny going forward. Oklahoma taxpayers cannot afford their government "allocating wealth and opportunity" to the governor's donors.