- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Some lobbyists soon will be allowed to spend more on meals and gifts for Oklahoma lawmakers because of a change in rules.

Executive Director Lee Slater of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission said current rules put a $100 cap on how much a lobbyist can spend on a state lawmaker. But that amount can be increased based on how many clients the lobbyist represents.

Under the new rules set to go into effect next year, lobbyists can now spend up to $500 on each state lawmaker regardless of how many clients they represent, The Oklahoman reported (https://bit.ly/1rLJJtK ). That means that some lobbyists with fewer clients can spend more than they could have before while those with many clients would have to spend less.

Attorney Denise Davick helps clients with ethics rules and said the change helps level the playing field between lobbyists.

“It’s definitely a good move on the part of the Ethics Commission,” she said.

But one state lawmaker sees the change as just an increase in how much lobbyists can spend.

“Why should a lobbyist give any gift?” Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, said. “They’re only doing it to further their agenda.”

Lobbyists collectively gave about $163,400 worth of items, such as meals, flowers, sports tickets and Bluetooth speakers, to state lawmakers in the first six months of this year.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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