One of the more powerful 'Dark Money' groups spending massive thousands in the primary election is a political action committee called 'Catalyst Oklahoma'. Investigative journalist, Trevor Brown, has done a fair amount of work to expose the secretive group and who the group wants to put in power, in Oklahoma. Read Trevor Brown's full report, here.
Trevor Brown is a new addition to Oklahoma journalism. He recently joined the Oklahoma Watch media team. Brown has covered state and local politics for nearly a decade. Reach Brown at:
Trevor Brown's research in today's article, resulted in naming the leader of Catalyst. Charles Sublett of Tulsa, OK is listed as the organization's president. Now, that doesn't mean that Sublett's own money was largely spent. To the contrary, the Dark money groups often hire key people to oversee the 'investments' of deeply cloaked participants who would be less willing to have their own names attached to the operations. One unnamed contributor gave $1.15 million to the PAC. Here are some of the candidates benefiting from Catalyst's spending, according to Brown's research:
- Tom Cole - Congress District 4 (SW Oklahoma) $58k
- Bob Jack in Senate District 25 (Tulsa) $17.5k
- Julie Daniels in Senate District 29(Bartlesville) $32.5k
- Miguel Najera in the Senate District 21(Stillwater) $10k
- Tim Downing in House District 42(Purcell-Paul's Valley) $29.1k.
One unusual twist in this narrative is that Charles Sublett is also cited by Brown for being a member of the board of OCPA, a prominent group who fought hard and effectively to stop the expansion of Medicaid and ObamaCare. This may indicate a thwarted effort to infiltrate OCPA, which was turned back? Catalyst is listed, in Brown's report, as a 501(c)(4) social-welfare nonprofit. This effectively protects the group from certain tax liabilities. Other entities making independent expenditures connected to legislative races are:
- Oklahoma Federation for Children Action Fund ($76,000 opposing or supporting 19 candidates),
- State Chamber of Commerce ($45,980 supporting 8 candidates)
- National Association of Realtors Fund ($10,274 to support 3 candidates).
At least one candidate (Tim Downing) made a rather defensive claim on his campaign's social media post; “Unless it says ‘authorized and paid for by friends of Tim Downing,’ it is not from me,” Downing said. “I have zero control over people or groups who exercise their freedom of speech to communicate with voters.”
In Oklahoma politics, the battleground isn't so much 'left' vs 'right'. It's more about 'big govt.' vs 'small govt.'. Socialism is often the result of bigger govt., but economic fascism is more often the result. Benito Mussolini once said; "Fascism ought rightly be called 'Corporatism' as it is the merging of business and govt.". Many of the objectives of the Oklahoma Chamber are essentially corporatist, and benefit well-connected large corporate interests. Bob Jack, for instance, has been an executive with Manhattan construction, which has greatly benefitted from state construction spending. ObamaCare greatly benefits hospital corporations and health insurance companies. the mandating of coverage has massively impacted the health provider industry. When St. Francis Hospital, in Tulsa, recently expanded their operations, Manhattan Construction was very involved in the new construction. They showcase the construction at the Manhattan Construction website (formerly/http://www.manhattanconstructiongroup.com/manhattan-construction/projects/webcams/saint-francis-hospital-trauma-emergency-center-renovation-and-expansion-webcam). The website says; "Manhattan Construction is building the Saint Francis Hospital Trauma Emergency Center Renovation and Expansion project. It is the largest expansion in the hospital’s history. " The mandated health insurance law led to the massive growth in the hospital. That's money the govt. orders us all to spend, which ends up in Manhattan Construction, and other well-connected corporations. Similar results will happen in the education spending mandates which are being promoted, this year. Character is Essential Political Action Committee, says it is “supporting and defending authentically conservative candidates,”. Brown reports that they and the Senate Conservatives Fund have spent $21,250 in support of U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine. Tea Party groups overwhelmingly reject the massive debt increases Congressman Tom Cole has supported through legislation like the recent Omnibus bill. Candidates may say they support a balanced budget, but often their votes reveal the lies in the rhetoric. Read Trevor Brown's full report, here.