En­ergy in­dus­try ad thanks `no' vot­ers

Tulsa World - - 11.15.2017 - By Randy Kre­hbiel earned Randy Kre­hbiel 918-581-8365 randy.kre­hbiel @tul­saworld.com Twit­ter: @rkre­hbiel

The oil and gas in­dus­try gave thanks a lit­tle early this week.

A not-for-profit cor­po­ra­tion associated with the Ok­la­homa Oil and Gas As­so­ci­a­tion took out ad­ver­tise­ments in news­pa­pers across the state, in­clud­ing the Tulsa World, Owasso Reporter and Wagoner County Amer­i­can Tri­bune, thank­ing Repub­li­cans in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives who last week voted against a bill that would have raised the gross pro­duc­tion tax on hor­i­zon­tally drilled oil and gas wells.

The ads do not men­tion five Democrats who voted against the mea­sure, per­haps be­cause they wanted an even big­ger hike in the gross pro­duc­tion tax.

The ad pic­tures peo­ple in generic work at­tire — none of them ob­vi­ously oil-field work­ers — thank­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives in each par­tic­u­lar news­pa­per's cir­cu­la­tion area for “sup­port­ing hard­work­ing Ok­la­homans” by “vot­ing FOR Ok­la­homa jobs and against tax in­creases.”

The mea­sure in ques­tion, House Bill 1054, would have also raised cig­a­rette, fuel and beer taxes and made pos­si­ble pay in­creases for teachers and state em­ploy­ees and re­in­state­ment of the re­fund­able state in­come tax credit.

The ads were au­tho­rized and paid for by En­ergy En­gaged, a passthrough non­profit whose ad­dress is the same as Ok­la­homa City law firm DeBee Gilchrist. The firm also is linked to the Ok­la­homa Oil and Gas As­so­ci­a­tion — one of three state trade as­so­ci­a­tions rep­re­sent­ing the in­dus­try — and to the Ok­la­homa Coun­cil of Pub­lic Af­fairs, an Ok­la­homa City ad­vo­cacy group that gen­er­ally op­poses tax in­creases.

Ques­tions to the Ok­la­homa Oil and Gas As­so­ci­a­tion about the ad and En­ergy En­gage were re­ferred to Ed DeBee, a part­ner in DeBee Gilchrist.

A call to DeBee was not re­turned Tues­day.

Some read­ers com­plained to the World that they could not find the dis­claimer iden­ti­fy­ing En­ergy En­gage and asked whether the World it­self spon­sored the ad.

It did not.

State Ethics Com­mis­sion rules state only that dis­claimers must be “of suf­fi­cient size and con­trast to be clearly read­able by the re­cip­i­ent of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

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