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This guy paid Ralph Shortey $93,000 to be a “campaign consultant.”

11:11 AM EDT on March 22, 2017

In Sunday's Oklahoman, Dale Denwalt took a look at the rise and fall of soon-to-be-former Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey.

The piece paints a stranger-than-fiction portrait of Ralph Shortey's hypocritical double life. It documents his religious background, the path he took to office, and the now-very-disturbing time he spent volunteering with community youth organizations.

Buried at the end of the article, past all the juicy hypocritical stuff, Dewalt explained Shortey's role as a paid political consultant.

Via The Oklahoman:

Starting sometime around 2014, Shortey began taking on clients as a political consultant. According to public reports, his firm Precision Strategy Group has been paid almost $335,000 for polling, mailing and other consulting services...

Between 2014 and 2016, Shortey's own Senate campaign paid Precision Strategy Group more than $41,000. His biggest client was state Rep. John Montgomery, who paid the firm about $95,000 during two election cycles.

“He was my political consultant. He did the job that I asked him to do, and that's kind of primarily our relationship,” said Montgomery, R-Lawton.

What was that? "Primarily" our relationship? According to the dictionary, "primarily" means "for the most part." Can you please tell us the other, non-primary part of the relationship, Mr. Montgomery? I'm sure it was nice and innocent and probably just involved playing video games, but I think the public deserves to know. I'll take my question off the air.

Now let's talk some math. Shortey's company was paid $335,000. $95,000 came from Montgomery. Shortey paid $41,000 to himself. That leaves $199,000. Where did the rest of the money come from? Who gave it to him? For some reason, The Oklahoman doesn't tell us. They just end with this:

Shortey also was a close political adviser to former state Rep. Dan Kirby, who resigned from office following a sexual harassment investigation.

That's nice. Of course Dan Kirby hired him. Maybe Shortey's scandal is all part of a Precision Strategy Group action plan to divert attention away from Dan Kirby's legislative aide sexcapades? If so, it's working.

To be clear, I'm not saying or suggesting there's any connection between Montgomery and Ralph Shortey's recent arrest. I seriously doubt Montgomery had any clue that Ralph Shortey liked to do "sexual stuff" with teenage male prostitutes. I bet he was more shocked and surprised than anyone.

What I want to know is how one lawmaker can pay another lawmaker $93,000 for "campaign consultation." WTF. How's that even legal? No conflict of interest there.

"Hey, I'd really like for you to vote for this bill."

"What do I get out of it?"

"I'll hire you as a "consultant" for my re-election campaign, and essentially launder $90,000 in corporate campaign donations to you for "consultation."

"That works. Can you also throw in a lobbyist dinner at Mickey Mantle's?

"Deal!"

Seriously, has it always been this way? Is it like this everywhere? If so, how do we stop it? If you're a lawmaker, you should probably not be allowed to hire other lawmakers as consultants. It just looks bad. Plus, you never know. The lawmaker you "hire" may someday get busted hanging out in a cheap motel room with a 17 year-old prostitute.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, The Oklahoman doesn't appear to list or mention all the other people who hired Shortey's firm. I'm sure the paper did this for legit reasons and it had nothing to do with protecting friends. We know Mike Christian hired Ralph Shortey to create those deceptive postcards, but that's it. Is this information publicly available? Did I miss it? I would ask The Oklahoman for the data, but I think they send all of my emails directly to spam.

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