Rural Water Association fined for illegal campaign contributions

The Oklahoma Rural Water Association PAC has reached a settlement with the State Ethics Commission over illegal campaign contributions and transfers.

The Ethics Commission approved the settlement on Friday after the political action committee self-reported issues with compliance with the Oklahoma Ethics rules.

The issues brought to surface included:

  • Over $3,200 of impermissible contributions and transfers between the  affiliated entity’s account and the PAC account;
  • Receiving approximately $3,570 in cash contributions without attribution to a specific contributor:
  • Receiving corporate contributions through donations of in kind items for PAC fundraiser; and
  • Failing to maintain full and complete records of the committee’s operations.

As a result, the Commission and PAC agreed to the following:

  • Payment of $12,000 to the General Revenue Fund within 30 days;
  • $1,000 to the Commission for attorneys fees and costs
  • Amendment of reports within sixty (60) days;
  • Dissolution of the PAC within sixty (60) days;
  • Disposal of all PAC Assets and any remaining funds with the General Revenue Fund of Oklahoma.
  • Agreement by Oklahoma Rural Water Association not to form a new affiliated PAC for 6 months;
  • Attendance by the PAC officers at an Ethics Commission educational program relating the limited PACS.

In reaching the terms of the settlement, the Commission took into account that the PAC self-reported violations to the Commission.

“This agreement is a result of the PAC voluntarily coming into compliance with the Ethics Rules and offering the Commission a reasonable settlement agreement to consider during its meeting,” said Executive Director Ashley Kemp.

“The actions of the PAC in self-reporting these acts and being proactive in remedying this saved the Commission significant time and resources that would otherwise have been used in an investigation and enforcement.  Voluntary compliance, over enforcement, remains the goal of the Commission in fulfilling the responsibilities vested in it by citizens of Oklahoma.”

The settlement agreement can be found below:

Rural Water PAC settlement