Former state Rep. Thad Balkman said last week that the 100 Ideas initiative will reveal who is giving it money to operate, and how much.
That announcement came after Oklahoma Gazette requested records under the state Open Records Act from House Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, and his staff.
According to Balkman, executive director of the initiative, the group will file quarterly reports.
“We are going to file reports that will look similar to what someone would file with the Ethics Commission, including our expenses,” Balkman said.
The 100 Ideas organization previously refused to answer questions about such funding, with both Cargill and Balkman citing donor privacy as reasons for not revealing the organization’s financials.
The 14-member advisory board has a 2-to-1 Republican disparity, counting known registrations:
” six Republicans,
” three Democrats and
” one Independent.
“It’s news to me,” Balkman said when questioned about the pro-Republican disparity. “I have no comment.”
Democratic Party Chair Lisa Pryor said the 100 Ideas initiative appears to be compromised by the ideology of its originators, who will choose only ideas that fit their party’s agenda.
“What will happen is it will raise false hopes with the public, and they will play into the Republican strategy,” Pryor said.
However, honorary co-chairman and former Democratic Gov. George Nigh said Balkman, Cargill and the advisory board will preselect the ideas, then give to the honorary chairs those ideas that have been culled, from which they will select the “best” 100.
“We’ll get together later and discuss ideas that they have sorted out, commingled,” Nigh said.
“We will not come into play until later on,” he said. “Ben Fenwick