The Oklahoma County District Attorney said Tuesday he will honor the request of a bipartisan group of lawmakers to investigate a campaign advertisement by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Eight lawmakers asked DA David Prater to “take swift and decisive action” regarding a 30-second advertisement by Stitt’s campaign.
The group wrote that the ad exhibits “a clear violation of multiple Ethics Rules and election laws” by featuring John O’Connor, a Stitt appointee who is running for his first full term as attorney general.
“Stitt and O’Connor fought Biden’s vaccine mandate… and led the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade,” the advertisement says.
In their letter, the lawmakers allege Stitt’s advertisement should be considered a contribution to O’Connor’s campaign.
“The intent is clear: with his hand-picked Attorney General lagging in the polls, Governor Stitt is spending his own campaign funds to help,” the letter reads.
Prater told News 9 Tuesday that he will investigate the ad.
“I consider this a serious matter,” Prater said. “I will respect the lawmakers' request and investigate to determine if evidence exists to prove a violation of Oklahoma criminal statutes."
Stitt’s campaign said the advertisement is meant to showcase the incumbent governor’s accomplishments while in office, which include appointing O’Connor, according to Donelle Harder, Stitt’s campaign manager.
In light of Prater’s announcement, Harder said the campaign will “pause” the ad in question.
“We received legal counsel in advance and are confident that it is an acceptable campaign ad focused on the Governor’s accomplishments and fulfilled campaign promises. In light of a recent inquiry, we are pausing this particular ad.”
State ethics laws prohibit a candidate committee from contributing to another candidate more than $2,900 in a year.
The group of lawmakers said in their letter that the Stitt campaign spent $340,000 to broadcast the ad in both Oklahoma and Tulsa viewing areas.
Brett Humphrey, campaign manager for O’Connor, said he cannot comment on another candidate’s advertisements. He said the footage used in the Stitt ad can be found publicly on O’Connor’s Youtube page.