Oklahoma City (July 31, 2007) - State Rep. Randy Terrill today called on the "Say No to 1804 Legal Defense Fund" to identify its donors as the group seeks to repeal a state law restricting taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal aliens.
"The failure to disclose donors prevents media scrutiny and keeps the public from knowing the real agenda of those who are promoting the judicial equivalent of a ballot measure," said Terrill, a Moore Republican who authored Oklahoma's law cracking down on illegal aliens.
"While we support the secret ballot in Oklahoma, we should not support secret campaign donations." The Tulsa World recently reported on the creation of the "say no to 1804 legal defense fund," which will spearhead the effort to overturn state law through the court system.
State lawmakers voted this year to approve Terrill's house bill 1804, which bans illegal aliens from obtaining official state government IDs - such as driver's licenses, terminates most public assistance and entitlement benefits for illegal aliens, grants state and local law enforcement officials the authority to enforce federal immigration law, and enacts employer penalties for knowingly hiring illegal aliens.
The "say no to 1804 legal defense fund" will apparently attempt to have the law overturned in court. State ethics law requires political candidates and elected officials to disclose campaign donors. The same law also applies to political parties and groups promoting or opposing ballot questions.
However, the law does not yet apply to any group using the judicial system as a proxy ballot initiative. "This is a loophole in Oklahoma ethics law that needs to be corrected," Terrill said. "Functionally, these people are seeking to repeal House Bill 1804, which is now the law of the land. It passed the legislature by an overwhelming, bipartisan and veto-proof majority and was signed into law by the governor. It is the clear will of the people of Oklahoma that House Bill 1804 be enforced. And yet we have this rogue group working in secret, hiding behind a legal technicality to engage in what is clearly political activity. If these individuals worked through the political process instead of trying to game the legal system, they would be required to reveal their financial supporters."
Terrill said Oklahomans have a right to know the identity of the individuals and groups promoting the legal fight. "This group is trying to use the judiciary to indirectly accomplish a goal they cannot achieve through the political process," Terrill said. "They will try to forum-shop and judge-shop to look for a liberal activist judge who will overturn the law regardless of proper constitutional dictates - just as we recently saw in Pennsylvania. The voters have an absolute right to know who is behind this brazen attack on the rule of law."
A federal judge recently struck down a city ordinance in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, that would have penalized landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and employers who hire them.