Nine of 14 candidates who’ve filed to run for Tulsa County Sheriff since last year did not file financial disclosure forms required by Oklahoma law, but the state may not be able to do much about it anyway, an investigation by The Frontier has found.

Lawmakers never appropriated money to enforce the new law.

Sheriff Vic Regalado did not file his financial disclosure form until Monday afternoon, after being questioned by The Frontier about the matter. The form should have been filed in February when he declared his candidacy.

Records show that only Luke Sherman, Arthur Jackson, Brandon Hendrix, Dan Miller, and John Fitzpatrick filed financial disclosure forms with the Tulsa County Election Board as they sought to replace former Sheriff Stanley Glanz.

Glanz resigned from office last October after being indicted by a grand jury on two misdemeanors, including withholding public records.

Regalado faces Sherman, a Tulsa police sergeant, and Russell Crow, a Tulsa County deputy and private investigator, Tuesday in the Republican primary for sheriff.

Regalado is a former TPD sergeant elected in April to fill the remainder of Glanz’s term. Tuesday’s election is for a full, four-year term — and likely more, since incumbent sheriffs in Oklahoma rarely lose re-election bids. Glanz served seven terms and seldom faced a serious opponent.

Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant said that since the election board acts as a document repository, any complaints about potential violations of the law should be directed to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.

“We don’t police this process,” Bryant told The Frontier on Monday. “We receive the documents, we date stamp them, and then we file them, and we respond to Open Records Act requests.”

A law passed last year changed the way candidates for municipal, county and school board offices filed campaign reports. Candidates for offices including sheriff, mayor, city councilor and school board are now required to file contribution reports and other records with the county election board.

The Ethics Commission, however, has responsibility under the law to investigate and take action against candidates who don’t comply. The problem is that county election boards aren’t required to report any potential violations of the law to the Ethics Commission. Members of the public can file complaints but the commission has no funding to investigate.

Luke and Vic.

Luke Sherman, left, and Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado, right, shake hands last year during a forum for sheriff candidates. Frontier file

Lee Slater, the outgoing executive director of the Ethics Commission, said since the law became effective in 2015, the legislature has appropriated no funds for the commission to establish the political subdivisions enforcement division required by the law.

Slater, who is retiring Thursday, said “egregious” violations would still be pursued by the commission.

“I would say any political subdivision candidate who assumes that because there’s no funding that there will be no enforcement would be mistaken,” Slater said.

So far, the commission has taken no public action against any candidate for county, municipal or school offices. Slater said he could not say whether the commission has taken any non-public actions.

He also said he couldn’t comment on whether the commission has received any complaints about candidates for Tulsa County sheriff failing to file their reports.

“If someone has failed to file their financial disclosure … I would consider it a violation that can be corrected fairly easily,” Slater said.

The Frontier has asked Regalado and his campaign manager, Aaron Brewer, for comment on this story and a copy of the financial disclosure form, which is a public record under the law. The form requires candidates to disclose their employers and sources of income over $5,000 received by either the candidate, the candidate’s spouse or dependents during the filing year.

Brewer has not returned calls and text messages by The Frontier seeking comment.

Brewer is an independent contractor for A.H. Strategies, the state’s largest campaign consulting firm. In 2014, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said he was investigating possible violations of campaign finance laws by A.H. Strategies involving “dark money.”

Prater’s investigation centered on whether a well-known lobbyist and consultant, Chad Alexander, had illegally coordinated campaign activities with a partner in A.H. Strategies, Fount Holland. ‘Dark money’ groups are supposed to operate independent of candidates’ campaign committees.


Luke Sherman, right, talks to voters earlier this year at the Brookside Baptist Church, as Sheriff Vic Regalado, left, listens. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

No action has been taken so far as a result of Prater’s investigation, which involved the campaign of Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent of public instruction. That investigation began after Alexander was arrested and charged with cocaine possession and Prater received permission from a judge to examine his cell phone and computer related to possible campaign law violations.

Holland has denied any coordination between A.H. Strategies and dark money groups and Hofmeister has said she never directed anyone to do so.

Brewer managed the U.S. Senate campaign of former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, who lost in a 2014 primary to Sen. James Lankford. Questions were also raised during Shannon’s run about coordination with dark money groups.

Though Brewer manages Regalado’s campaign, the sheriff said he believes he personally filed the disclosure form when he filed two other documents Feb. 18. Nonetheless, the election board had no record of the document, and Regalado re-filed it Monday.

“Our financial disclosure statement was filled out, notarized, and personally filed by me at the County Election Board. Upon learning that no copy of that filing could be readily produced, I simply filled out another form and filed it,” Regalado said in an emailed statement.

The Frontier asked Regalado for a file-stamped copy of the form but did not produce one as of Monday evening.

If the Ethics Commission investigates and confirms a violation, candidates who fail to file their forms or file them late face a $100-per-day fine, up to a maximum of $1,000.

Sherman, Regalado’s primary opponent, filed his personal financial disclosure on time prior to the special election, though he did not file one when he re-filed to run for the full sheriff term. Regalado’s was more than four months late, and neither Crow nor Berry had one on file at the election board.

Berry attributed the mistake to the difficulties of being a rookie seeking public office.

“That’s what happens when you have amateurs like me running for office,” he said, noting that he only gets income from his police pension and social security. He said the oversight “will be corrected.”

One thing after the other
The latest salvo in an increasingly bitter and strange campaign for sheriff was fired Sunday, when Sherman released surveillance video of a man, alleged to be Brewer “sabotaging” Sherman’s campaign signs.

The video shows the man using campaign signs from other candidates to block Sherman’s campaign signs. Trebor Worthen, a campaign strategist for Regalado, said there was no proof the person in Sherman’s video was actually Brewer.

“The only person who can say if it was Aaron is Aaron,” he said.

Brewer did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Sherman said his signs have been tampered with throughout the county.

“Our campaign signs have been stolen from Skiatook to Sperry to Bixby. They’ve been stolen, they’ve been destroyed, they’ve been cut, they’ve been covered, and they’ve been moved.”

Sherman’s campaign said a volunteer installed a camera in front of the South Country Estates subdivision near Memorial and 106th in Bixby. The man alleged to be Brewer was recorded on surveillance late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Sherman and Regalado are former colleagues who agreed early in the campaign to strike a civil tone — but as the election has drawn near, they’ve traded increasingly strong and negative assessments of each other.

In a news release Sunday, Sherman called the campaign sign incident “cowardly and underhanded nonsense.”


Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado talks in June during a press conference announcing a grant TCSO had received. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

“Sadly, it’s quite consistent with the absence of character we have seen from my opponent’s campaign since day one,” the release states.

Regalado, in an emailed statement, accused Sherman’s camp of similar tactics, saying his campaign signs had been taken as well.

“It looks like my opponent is at it again, with another deceptively produced video lying about my campaign,” Regalado said in the statement. “Despite my opponent’s campaign having stolen, destroyed and defaced countless signs of mine, we have never touched one single sign of his. More lies from my opponent doesn’t change anything in this race, but I’m sure he will continue his false, negative campaign right through election day.”

While allegations of campaign sign theft occur in nearly every election season, the alleged sign-tampering just the latest twist in what’s been a wild race that stretches back to 2015.

As Glanz found himself and the sheriff’s office mired in controversy during fallout from the Robert Bates scandal, he announced he would not seek re-election. Glanz was first elected sheriff in 1989.

Contenders began to quietly line up to replace the longtime sheriff while Glanz found himself under grand jury investigation. When the grand jury returned two indictments against Glanz, forcing him to resign from office, campaigning began in full.

Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

Former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

Gov. Mary Fallin quickly announced a special primary election would be held in March, followed by a general election in April. Thirteen men — 10 Republicans, two Democrats and one independent — then filed for sheriff, a shockingly large number considering Glanz typically ran unopposed. Counting Glanz, only nine people filed to run for sheriff between 1988 and 2012.

Those 13 candidates almost immediately began fighting amongst each other, and three were removed from the ballot, including Arthur Jackson, who filed to run again for the full-term. Fitzpatrick survived a challenge from fellow candidate Jason Jackson, who fought an unsuccessful battle to get the Oklahoma Supreme court to remove Fitzpatrick from the ballot.

Following that process, Regalado was beset with questions over his campaign donations. He raised more money than all the other candidates combined, and some donations came from those with ties to Glanz — including attorney Clark Brewster, who represents Tulsa County in civil litigation and represented Bates in his criminal case.

Regalado also faced scrutiny for alleged “straw donors” when he collected more than $40,000 in donations from employees of a Rogers County company, many of whom are not Tulsa County residents and could not vote in Tulsa County.

The Tulsa World has since reported that anonymous sources in the state Attorney General’s Office have said there’s an active investigation into those donors. Regalado said he has not heard from the AG’s office about any investigation.

Regalado easily won the Republican primary, then defeated Berry the next month in the general election.

The election did not stop the campaign fireworks, however.

Regalado’s victory lap was short lived, as candidates had to re-file the following week for the full term. And the campaign sign and disclosure form drama was only the tip of the iceberg — Sherman and Regalado sparred on a live radio debate that grew increasingly personal, and a Regalado supporter launched a Twitter account that mocks Sherman and his campaign with homemade memes. Sherman’s camp ran a television commercial they had to alter after misconstruing a Tulsa World headline they used in the ad.

And that wasn’t all: Rather than run for sheriff again, the majority of the candidates (Fitzpatrick, Jackson, Tom Helm, and Dan Miller) who were defeated by Regalado in March aligned with Sherman, opting instead of pool their voter bases in the hopes that Sherman would topple the incumbent sheriff. Regalado, tasked with finding a balance between cleaning up the sheriff’s office and campaigning, raised significantly less money than he did in the special election cycle, and said a week before the election that he would not film a commercial. (Regalado was the only candidate to run a television commercial during the special election cycle.)

However, Sherman ran two negative commercials against Regalado, who quickly responded with his own negative ad against Sherman.

Regalado also loaned his campaign more than $20,000 at the same time, a surprising amount considering his campaign contributions form listed him as having $51,000 remaining in his war chest.

In response to an email request for comment, Brewer said only that “The Regalado campaign reports all contributions and expenditures in accordance with rules established by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. All information required to be disclosed has been disclosed.”