Gas Companies Helped Fund Anti-SQ 788 Campaign

Tuesday, August 7th 2018, 6:41 pm
By: Grant Hermes

We're getting a new look at the deep pocketed backers of a well-funded last-minute push to prevent medical marijuana from passing earlier this summer.

The ads for the campaign seemed to be everywhere in the week before the vote and now, we're getting a look at how that group was able to get so much money together so quickly.  

It was an ad campaign worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, an effort hoping to sway Oklahomans against State Question 788.

The campaign, according to recently released finance reporting, brought in more than $1.2 million. Nearly half of that coming from Oklahoma's energy companies.

According to the report, powerhouse companies like Devon Energy, Continental Resources and Newfield Exploration each gave $100,000. Others like Chesapeake Energy, Enable Midstream and Gulfport gave between $25,000 and $50,000.

On top of that, at least one report shows oil and gas executives trying to influence the votes of employees. In an email obtained by The Frontier, Continental CEO Harold Hamm encouraged employees to vote against the state question saying, "it would have a negative impact on business and our state."

News 9 tried to get comment from the listed companies and only got a response from four including Gas and Electric, whose corporate arm donated $25,000.

Both spokespeople said their opposition stemmed from concerns of safety on the job despite current industry practices already in place for drugs both legal and illegal.

In an email the Spokesperson for Devon Energy wrote, "SQ 788 creates numerous challenges for employers, particularly those in industries with a strong emphasis on safety."

Medical groups, banks and real estate companies also donated money. The largest single donation came from the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce which donated $215,000.