Profile for Scott Pruitt: Candidate for 3 Attorney General
POLITICS: Pruitt receives NRA endorsement
From Scott Pruitt Campaign
(POL) The National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund endorsed Scott Pruitt, candidate for Attorney General, and gave Pruitt an "A" rating.
The NRA-PVF cited their decision as based on Pruitt's "strong and vocal support of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms while serving in the Oklahoma State Senate."
The endorsement further commended Scott Pruitt's signing of the "friend of the court" brief in the McDonald case, which argues the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that applies to all Americans.
Pruitt said, "I am pleased and grateful to have the support of the NRA in my campaign for attorney general. The Second Amendment is a core principle of freedom. My track record shows that, and I look forward to continuing to advocate for the freedom of all Oklahomans and their Right to Keep and Bear Arms as attorney general."
The Pruitt campaign received notification of the endorsement via a letter signed by Randy Kozuch, Director of the NRA-ILA State and Local Affairs.
POLITICS: Pruitt says his campaign issues are matching well with voters' concerns
By Justin Martino
(POL) Scott Pruitt, the Republican nominee for attorney general, said he has been pleased to discover the issues his campaign finds important are the same issues that concern voters.
"I'm encouraged that the issues we're talking about are issues that we continue hearing from folks," he said.
Pruitt has promised to be an "energetic and active" attorney general if elected, which he said is what voters in Oklahoma want.
"People are responding very well," he said. "That's what they desire. The people of Oklahoma want an attorney general to stand up on their behalf against Washington."
Pruitt has announced that he intends to establish an office to deal with federalism in the attorney general's office with the intention of protecting Oklahoma's rights against federal encroachment. The office would also deal with issues such as federal regulation of health care, financial business and immigration.
"I will look at options to make sure we take whatever steps necessary to hold the federal government accountable," he said.
Pruitt previously announced that he plans on reviewing and taking some sort of action to hold the federal government responsible for securing the border. He said several states have considered such action as an alternative to enacting immigration laws such as those recently passed in Arizona.
"If the federal government doesn't do its job, what other option does a state have then to enact legislation or take action in courts?" he said. "I think a state has to be aggressive in forcing the federal government to do its job, because it's resulting in a great cost."
The cost to Oklahoma from illegal immigration is likely more than $200 million in costs to the corrections system, health, education and other programs, he said.
Securing the borders would also help with problems in Oklahoma that do not deal with federalism, he said. One of those problems that Pruitt plans to focus on is the trafficking of methamphetamines through Oklahoma.
Pruitt said the Department of Justice has said methamphetamine trafficking is increasing because of Mexican drug cartels expanding throughout the southwest United States, and more security on the border would help stop the spread of the trafficking and usage of methamphetamines.
The increased drug trafficking has also helped cause an increase in violent crimes and property crimes in Oklahoma, he said.
Pruitt is also using his visits with people across the state to talk to voters and local law enforcement and establish a good relationship with various groups that will help if he is elected attorney general in November.
"I want to be an effective partner with district attorneys," he said. "I want to be an effective voice for the people of Oklahoma to advocate their voice."
This is Pruitt's second campaign for a statewide office in addition to his campaigns for state senator. He served eight years in the Senate, and in 2006 he unsuccessfully sought the lieutenant governor's seat. During this campaign, he said he is enjoying the opportunity to travel to all areas of the state.
"I enjoy the process," he said. "I enjoy being in the various communities and hearing from them about certain issues and learning from them."
What Pruitt is hearing, he said, confirms that his ideas are matching well with the concerns of Oklahoma.
"I'm encouraged," he said. "The people are very excited about the attorney general's race because I believe they know and see the attorney general will be instrumental in fighting Washington."
Pruitt is facing Democrat Jim Priest in the Nov. 2 general election to replace Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor.
EPA denies lead ammunition ban
By Justin Martino
(OK) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied a petition Friday calling for a ban on the production and distribution of lead in hunting ammunition. The possibility of a ban had caused Scott Pruitt, a candidate for attorney general in Oklahoma, to renew his call for an office of federalism in the attorney general's office.
The petition had asked for a ban on the lead in hunting ammunition as well as fishing tackle. The EPA did not deny the petition on the issue of fishing tackle and is continuing to review that part of the petition.
"EPA reached this decision because the agency does not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under the Toxic Substances Control Act - nor is the agency seeking such authority," stated Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in a press release. "As there are no similar jurisdictional issues relating to the agency's authority over fishing sinkers, EPA - as required by law - will continue formally reviewing a second part [of] the petition related to lead fishing sinkers."
Pruitt, the Republican candidate for attorney general, held a press conference in Lawton on Friday during which he said that if the EPA acted on the petition, it would serve as an example of the federal government overreaching its authority.
According to information from his campaign, he planned to talk about how the petition "underscores the urgent need for implementation of a Federalism Unit at the office of attorney general to fight back the federal government's intrusion on the constitutional rights of Oklahoma."
Pruitt has previously said that he would fight against the federal health care reform if elected, and that he would also file a lawsuit against the federal government to force the federal government to enforce immigration laws.
He spoke of his intention to create an office devoted to federalism in the attorney general's office as early as April when he announced his candidacy for office.
"It's time to remind our national leaders that we are a nation of laws, not men," Pruitt said at the time, referring to the need to keep the federal government inside the rights granted to it by the U.S. Constitution.
Pruitt has also said that he believes Oklahoma needs an activist attorney general that will jump in on issues affecting Oklahomans.
"I plan on being an activist attorney general," he said when announcing his intention to file a lawsuit against the federal government over immigration laws. "Otherwise I wouldn't be in the race."
The EPA is currently accepting comments about the issue of lead in fishing tackle at www.regulations.gov. The agency will consider comments that are submitted by Sept. 15.
POLITICS: Pruitt wins Republican nomination for attorney general
By Justin Martino
(POL) In a campaign that started with a post on his friend's blog, former Oklahoma Sen. Scott Pruitt won the Republican nomination for attorney general Tuesday.
The race started as a close one, with less than 2 percent separating Pruitt from fellow Republican Ryan Leonard. Pruitt began to pull away and ended Tuesday night with 134,313 votes, or 56.05 percent, while Leonard received 105,331 votes, or 43.95 percent, according to the unofficial results from the Oklahoma State Election Board's website. He will face Democrat Jim Priest, an Oklahoma City attorney, in the general election in November.
Pruitt, who served eight years in the Oklahoma Senate, has also worked as a constitutional attorney and is co-owner and managing general partner of the Oklahoma City Redhawks.
If elected, he has promised to start an office in the attorney general's office dedicated to federalism and asserting the rights of the state of Oklahoma against federal regulations and unfunded mandates.
POLITICS: Pruitt promises to be activist for Oklahoma
By Shawn Ashley
(POL) Former state Sen. Scott Pruitt made his campaign for attorney general official Wednesday, filing his declaration of candidacy with the Oklahoma State Election Board and promising to be an activist on Oklahoma's behalf.
"We need a conservative, activist attorney general to represent the state," Pruitt, a Republican, said.
Pruitt said he would work to enforce the U.S. and Oklahoma constitutions to hold the federal government accountable for what he described as an attack on states' rights.
"We didn't pick these fights," Pruitt said. "Washington D.C. did."
Pruitt pointed to the federal health care legislation passed earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency's implementation of carbon dioxide rules and the financial reform measure currently being considered by Congress as examples of the federal government's infringement on states' rights.
"There are many issues the attorney general should be involved in on behalf of the state that are new," Pruitt said.
Pruitt called Democrat Attorney General Drew Edmondson's decision not to join or to file a lawsuit against the federal government over its health care legislation unfortunate.
"I will work to do that day one," Pruitt said.
POLITICS: Pruitt says life experience will help him in attorney general's office
By Justin Martino
(POL) Scott Pruitt, a former state senator and Republican candidate for attorney general, said that while his stance on health care reform and immigration may have made the news recently, his experience in life makes him the complete candidate to deal with all issues faced by the attorney general.
Pruitt said that the attorney general's office deals with far more issues than those regularly in the headlines, such as health care and immigration.
"There are traditional components and nontraditional components to the office today," he said. "They're all important. You have to elect someone who can do both."
Pruitt has experience as an attorney, a state senator and a business owner. As an attorney, he focused on constitutional issues, and his first case was defending the religious freedom of Oklahoma state employees. And, as co-owner and managing general partner of the Oklahoma City Redhawks baseball team, he said he has been involved in the sort of negotiations that will help him deal with the issues facing Oklahoma.
Pruitt said he is willing to find ways to handle the new issues he finds important, such as fighting back the federal government's encroaching on the rights of states.
One of Pruitt's first goals as attorney general would be to establish an office devoted to federalism and making sure the agency is properly funded to deal with issues such as federal regulation in banking, health care and environmental protection.
Pruitt said one of the first things he plans to do if he is elected is to start fighting against federal health care reform. Oklahoma may join an existing group of states that has filed a lawsuit against the reform in federal court, or it may wish to file its own suit, Pruitt said, depending on whether the Oklahoma attorney general's office can work out strategies it thinks may be more effective.
Pruitt also recently announced that he would begin working on a lawsuit against the federal government forcing it to enforce federal immigration laws. The government's lack of enforcing laws against illegal immigrants has led not only to states such as Arizona creating its own laws to enforce immigration, but it has also led to a minimum of $200 million in costs to Oklahoma, he said.
Pruitt said that his talks with Oklahomans make him believe they want an attorney general who will find new ways to fight for the rights of the state and its citizens.
"The passion I see by the citizens of Oklahoma in respect to the attorney general's office is they want a new sort of attorney general who is willing to fight and be courageous in these issues," he said.
Pruitt has more things on his mind than just the federal government, however. He also said he plans to advocate and lobby aggressively against sexual predators and attempt for more strict punishments for people who prey on children. In addition, he said he wants to work on enforcing laws against workers' compensation fraud, which he said could remove a large cost to small business owners.
The major issues of today, however, may not be the same in a few years. Pruitt used water rights as an example of something that will likely become more prominent in the near future as people seek to sell surplus water in Oklahoma.
"The point is, we need to know that it's surplus water," he said. "We need to know the resources of the people and the state of Oklahoma are protected."
Pruitt added that he hopes the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, which will be released next fall, will answer some of those questions.
Much like three years ago, when no one expected a fight against federal health care reform to be a major issue, Pruitt said it is difficult to protect the major issues of the next five years. He expects water to be a major one, however, and said his negotiating experience in the Legislature will serve him well in handling water compacts and other related issues.
"It's on the horizon, and it's going to be important to have someone in the office who understands the importance of water," he said.
Whether it is continued issues with protecting Oklahoma against federal regulation, ensuring Oklahoma has enough water to meet its needs or some other issue that cannot be predicted right now, though, Pruitt said his experiences in life show that he is up for whatever challenge may present itself.
"That's extremely important for the attorney general because of all the demands on the office," he said. "I think the experience I have in my life has brought me to a place where I can impact those demands in a positive way."
POLITICS: Pruitt plans lawsuit to make federal government enforce immigration laws
By Justin Martino
(POL) Scott Pruitt, a Republican candidate for attorney general, announced at a press conference Thursday that one of his first actions if elected would be to bring a lawsuit against the federal government for failure to enforce immigration laws.
Pruitt said the federal government has "wholly abdicated" its duty with regard to enforcing illegal immigration laws, which led Arizona to passing a law to enforce immigration restrictions at a state level. Pruitt added the state law passed in Arizona does not conflict with the federal laws on enforcing illegal immigration.
"Arizona acted in desperation," he said. "Arizona acted because the federal government refused to act."
Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, and Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, indicated in late April they intended to introduce a bill that would mirror the language of Arizona's law. In Pruitt's opinion, however, while a state is free to adopt such a law, it should not be necessary if the state forces the federal government to act.
"The state of Oklahoma should have the power and does have the power to say, 'You have not lived up to your end of the bargain,'" he said.
He said the harm to Oklahoma from illegal immigration is likely more than $200 million in costs to the corrections system, health, education and other programs. The money that Oklahoma stands to save would be much greater than the cost of the lawsuit, he said, and it would be in the interest of Oklahoma to force the federal government to live up to its responsibility.
According to a press release from Pruitt, the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program of the federal government provided less than $1.2 million to Oklahoma. The news release also states that the federal government has admitted the program only covers 42 percent of the cost for incarcerating undocumented aliens convicted of felonies or multiple misdemeanors.
"The current situation places Oklahoma at a competitive disadvantage to other states that, because they are farther from the border, do not have the illegal immigration problem we have," Pruitt stated in the release. "Right now, the Oklahoma taxpayer is simply footing more of the bill for dealing with the illegal immigration than are taxpayers in other states. Since it is a national responsibility, this situation is wrong, and it needs to stop. At this point, aggressive court action appears to be the most realistic venue rectifying the situation."
Pruitt stressed that the lawsuit is not intended to give additional responsibilities to the federal government but would only to require it to fulfill responsibilities it already has.
"The president of the United States does not need authorization to secure the border," he said.
Pruitt also noted the federal government routinely holds states accountable for their actions, and states should and can also hold the federal government to the same accountability.
Pruitt said he hopes the lawsuit would be joined by other states and that it would be a project of his attorney general's office, if elected, that focuses on federalism. He also said the office would spend time researching the issue and framing the lawsuit properly before filing.
The lawsuit could be a writ of mandamus, ordering the government to act, or it could come in the form of a direct action.
"We want to do this the right way," he said.
Pruitt said it is the duty of the attorney general to file lawsuits representing the state, which is why he is not filing now as a citizen.
He also said he has no problem with lawsuits such as the one he proposes being considered "activist," adding that an activist attorney general is what Oklahoma needs right now.
"I plan on being an activist attorney general," he said. "Otherwise I wouldn't be in the race."
Pruitt to run for attorney general
By Justin Martino
(OK) Scott Pruitt, a former state senator and lieutenant governor candidate, announced his candidacy for attorney general on Monday via the Internet.
Pruitt's statement was made on www.pruitt4okag.blogspot.com, a blog started by his friend Charlie Polston in an attempt to convince Pruitt to run for the position.
"After much prayerful consideration with friends and family, I've decided to launch a campaign for attorney general," Pruitt wrote on the site. "While a formal announcement is still forthcoming, I'm now in the process of filing the necessary paperwork and getting my campaign team in place."
Pruitt is the third Republican to declare his candidacy for the position, sharing the field with Oklahoma City attorney Ryan Leonard and state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond. Oklahoma City attorney Jim Priest is the only Democrat currently seeking the position.
Pruitt was a senator from Broken Arrow from 1999 until 2007, and he ran an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor in 2006. Currently, he is a managing general partner of the Oklahoma City RedHawks.
Polston, however, said he felt it was time for Pruitt to rejoin politics.
"I've known Scott for over a decade and have observed him in both his public and private life, and he is a true man of integrity, character and honor," Polston wrote in late July when he began his blog. "He has the conservative values that are shared by me and most Oklahomans, and furthermore, the legal credentials for the job. I believe it's time to return Scott to a leadership position in Oklahoma."
Pruitt also started a Twitter account on March 4, where he has announced that a formal announcement and Web site for his campaign will be coming soon. He has asked people to follow the blog until an official Web site has been prepared.
As of midnight on Monday, Pruitt had not filed a statement of organization with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.