Although the 2010 elections are still a year away, State Sen. Jim Wilson wants to make sure the campaigns take the high road. Hes filed legislation that would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally lie or spread misinformation in a political campaign.
Every year it seems like the lies and the mudslinging just gets worse and worse. It would be laughable if it wasnt such a serious issuethese lies can and do impact the outcomes of our electoral process, and yet nothing is ever done to hold those responsible accountable, said Wilson, D-Tahlequah. Its got to stop.
Senate Bill 1255 would make it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up of $5,000 or one year in jail for intentionally participating in the dissemination of political advertising or campaign materials that the person knows to be false. The penalty would specifically apply to materials that provide false information regarding the personal or political character of a candidate, voting records or the effect of legislation authored.
People should seek elected office or passage of an issue based on the facts and merits. Instead, we see individuals and organizations use lies to frighten, anger and manipulate voters. The process is tainted, Wilson said. Oklahomans deserve better.
Wilson said similar legislation has been filed in the past, but has never made it through both chambers.
You cant get on TV and lie about what a product does, or what a competing product does or doesnt do, but when it comes to politics, the most outrageous slander goes unchecked, Wilson said. I hope when the 2010 session begins, my fellow members will help clean up the process by passing SB 1255.