OKLAHOMA CITY — A proposed rule that would require Oklahoma elected officials to wait two years before working as lobbyists is getting mixed reviews.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has unanimously approved the rule, the Tulsa World reported. It will take effect if the Legislature doesn’t take any action by the end of the session.

The proposal comes as more lawmakers are lobbying their former colleagues as a way to make a living after their terms have ended.

The commission’s executive director, Ashley Kemp, said the rule would prohibit policymakers from using their positions to benefit themselves.

“It also serves to ensure state officers and employees always keep the state of Oklahoma and the interests of the citizens as the priority,” Kemp said.

But some lawmakers don’t agree with the new rule.

Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa, said she understands the rule’s intent, but said it could be more harmful than helpful. She said it will limit institutional knowledge.

“Some of us are just trying to do good,” Blancett said.

Bobby Stem, who was an assistant to former Senate President Pro Tem Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore, before becoming a lobbyist, said the rule is unnecessary.

“I don’t believe that people who have come out of state government work are necessarily more influential than others,” Stem said. “I think they are very knowledgeable and obviously are well aware of certain processes within the agency they came out of, but their ability to affect change at the Legislature is no greater than anybody else.”


Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.