Alva Review-Courier -

By Trevor Brown and Mollie Bryant
Oklahoma Watch 

Donations, lobbying reflect influence of oil and gas industry


Jeff Raymond, Oklahoma Watch

Oil derrick Petunia Number One sits on the south grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. The well, which is officially known as Capitol Site Number One, was nicknamed Petunia because it was drilled in a flower bed, according to the Oklahoma History Center. The well was drilled in 1941. Oklahoma is the only state with an oil well drilled under its state Capitol.

In recent weeks, Oklahoma's budget stood in limbo for a time as Republicans and Democrats battled over how much to raise gross production taxes on oil and gas wells.

But a third party was at the bargaining table: the oil and gas industry.

Oil and gas companies, along with their trade groups, have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to lawmakers over more than two years, with top Republican leaders at the forefront of budget talks taking in some of the largest amounts. Republicans received more than 90 percent of total donations.

In all, sitting lawmakers took in abo...

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