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Okla. citizen legislators face potential conflicts

By TIM TALLEY
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Some Oklahoma lawmakers are farmers. Others are bankers, and many are lawyers whose legal training and background make them ideally suited to drafting legislation.

All are citizen legislators who serve in the Legislature four months a year then return to their communities and resume their private lives and careers. They also face potential conflicts if they try to blend their occupations with their public service.

Some of the pitfalls facing citizen legislators have surfaced during testimony in the federal bribery and extortion trial of former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan, who is accused of illegally accepting more than $400,000 from three companies that sought his influence on legislation. He has pleaded not guilty, and a jury is deliberating his fate.

Rep. Doug Cox of Grove says citizen legislators must be careful to avoid conflicts of interest.

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