Schools’ Lobbying raises open-records concerns

Submitted by NFOIC on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 11:01am

During the 2018-2019 school year, four public school districts in Oklahoma hired contract lobbyists. In addition to raising concerns about government accountability and indirect funneling of taxpayer dollars to political campaigns, schools’ use of contract lobbyists may also reduce government transparency and sidestep open-records laws.

Under Oklahoma law, most written communications sent to lawmakers by public school officials are open records that can be viewed by the public. However, because the Legislature exempts itself from open-records requirements, critics worry that written communication sent to lawmakers by a lobbyist who is not a direct employee of a school, but a contract worker, may effectively evade open-records requirements. (Read more here...)