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It is not always what it seems

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It was a faith-based event not unlike any of the many others which I have seen occur at Oklahoma’s state capitol building. A group of good-hearted and dedicated individuals journeyed from across the state because they truly care for the state and they wanted their voice and concerns to be heard.

State Rep.  Jason Murphey

State Rep. Jason Murphey

I always enjoy observing these groups as their presence represents a welcomed but temporary injection of the real world into the artificial political bubble which dominates the capitol environment. These are real people who are motivated by the right reasons and who aren’t playing the complicated, taxpayer-funded game which motivates all too many of the regular inhabitants of the building.

It’s fascinating to observe the collision of the former group with the later.

At this particular event, that’s exactly what happened. The large, faith-based group gave their attention to their speaker, an elected official, who to the casual observer appeared to be an individual of faith, motivated by the right reason and representing the important values for which this group spends much time and energy advocating.

But, those of us who are positioned to carefully observe the day-to-day activities of the political class knew the truth. This particular speaker is an extremely intelligent, shrewd politician who is one of Oklahoma’s best at playing the taxpayer-funded political game.

As the chairperson of an important legislative committee, this person isn’t content to just raise campaign contributions from one side of the issue, but is instead one of the most skilled politicians at perfecting the art form of shaking down lobbyists from both sides of a given point of view.

The technique works like this. As chairperson for the important committee, the politician’s actions mean the life or death of multiple legislative proposals each year. The politician brokers influence by first lining up campaign contributions from the lobbyists and special interest on one side of an issue, then leveraging that support with the advocates for the other side. Presumably the highest bidders win out although that won’t likely stop this particularly brazen politician from still attempting to collect on the commitments from the losing side.

And, just in case there aren’t enough divisive issues to create the tremendous cash flow to which the politician has become accustomed, this person is known for sponsoring legislation to “create tension” between the various groups. The politician uses the tension to pit special interests against special interests in an attempt to collect money from at least one of the groups but likely both when possible. It’s a technique and highly-advanced art form for generating campaign contributions. And, it’s incredibly costly to you and me, the taxpayers! It’s an immoral game which is funded by the money of others.

I suspect few if any of those who attended the faith-based event on that day had any idea of the facts described herein. They likely returned to their homes convinced of the politician’s faith and support for issues of importance to them, completely unaware of the complicated taxpayer-funded game played by this person. But, in reality, they had just witnessed the work of one of Oklahoma’s most clever politicians.

Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email Jason.Murphey@hd31.org with your thoughts and suggestions.

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