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Mayoral candidates file finance reports sharing glimpse of fundraising

Mayoral candidates file finance reports sharing glimpse of fundraising

Finance reports from Mayor Dewey Bartlett and his challenger for re-election, City Councilor G.T. Bynum, show each has been busy raising money as they prepare for this year’s race.

Bynum raised almost twice as much as Bartlett during the final quarter of last year, reporting $71,955 in contributions compared with the mayor’s $40,475.

The reporting includes money raised up to Dec. 31 but does not include fundraisers that have occurred since, including Bynum’s first fundraiser in January.

By JARREL WADE World Staff Writer

Document: Mayor Dewey Bartlett's final 2015 finance report

Document: Councilor G.T. Bynum's final 2015 campaign finance report

Finance reports from Mayor Dewey Bartlett and his challenger for re-election, City Councilor G.T. Bynum, show each has been busy raising money as they prepare for this year’s race.

Bynum raised almost twice as much as Bartlett during the final quarter of last year, reporting $71,955 in contributions compared with the mayor’s $40,475.

The reporting includes money raised up to Dec. 31 but does not include fundraisers that have occurred since, including Bynum’s first fundraiser in January.

Bartlett’s report includes two donations made Dec. 30 that exceed Oklahoma’s contribution cap for a single election from individuals of $2,700.

Bartlett, who is representing Tulsa at an oil-and-gas summit in Houston this week, could not be reached for comment.

The Bartlett campaign, however, released a statement to the Tulsa World in response to a request for comment, saying the campaign has issued refunds in the amount exceeded.

“The campaign finance team was aware of the contributions and had previously initiated a refund according to the proper procedures,” the statement from the campaign says.

The refunds will be reflected on the campaign’s next report — due by April 30 — covering Jan. 1 through March 30, according to the statement.

The statement did not indicate when the refunds were issued.

Michael Bartlett, the mayor’s brother, and Kimberly Bartlett, the mayor’s 19-year-old niece, each donated $5,400 as individuals, according to the report.

Oklahoma Ethics Commission rules state “no person shall make a contribution in excess of … $2,700 … to any candidate committee prior to a primary election.”

The rules also state that “after the primary election a person who has made a contribution of … $2,700 … to the candidate committee prior to the primary election may make an additional contribution of no more than … $2,700 … to the candidate prior to the runoff primary election.”

Essentially, the rules state that a cap of $2,700 may be given prior to each election — primary, primary runoff and general — but not until the previous election is decided.

Lee Slater, executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, confirmed the rules, saying contributions toward anticipated elections — like the general election — are not allowed in Oklahoma.

“The solution is to send the excess back,” Slater said. “They still have to report the receipt, but they need to send the money back and a correction doesn’t show up until the next report.”

The total balances reported for each campaign for the reporting period were $40,292 for Bartlett and $79,464 for Bynum after expenses. If each of the $5,400 donations is halved and returned to the contributors, Bartlett’s total would become $34,592 — less than half Bynum’s total.

Bynum said he has been happy with his campaign’s start, adding that the report’s total reflects contributions before he held a private January fundraiser to kick off his campaign among supporters.

“That’s the amount that we raised in the six weeks between when I announced I was running for mayor and the end of the calendar year,” Bynum said. “We received a tremendous response from the community.”

Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367

jarrel.wade@tulsaworld.com

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