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CEO's and donor's name absent from brief against Boren's proposed penny tax

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Harold Hamm

Harold Hamm's name is absent from a joint amicus brief filed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court after his name was present on the application to file it. The brief filed opposes OU President David Boren's proposed penny tax plan to raise money for Oklahoma education.

UPDATE, 5:35 p.m. Dec. 9 — A public relations representative from Continental Resources said Hamm is not joining the amicus brief filed by Bartlett and the municipal league, but would not comment further.

Read the original report below:

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The Oklahoma Municipal League, Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr., the mayor of Tulsa and Harold Hamm, Continental Resources CEO, signed an application for a joint amicus brief against OU President David Boren's proposed sale tax plan Dec. 3.

The brief, which was filed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court Dec. 7, sided with OCPA Impact, an Oklahoman advocacy group, regarding the proposed tax. 

However, although Hamm's name appeared on the application, it was absent from the actual brief. Only the Oklahoma Municipal League and Bartlett’s names were present. It is unclear if this means Hamm's name is absent on the brief because of a switch in his position on Boren's tax proposal.

The brief contains grievances relating to the constitutionality of Boren’s proposed penny tax and states that it “threatens the ability of municipalities to provide basic public services.”

Carolyn Stager, the executive director of The Oklahoma Municipal League, said Oklahoma has become overly dependent on sales taxes, which effects why the groups are opposing the tax.

“Our board supports the goal of teacher pay raises and competitive wages,” Stager said. However, Stager said the board does not believe the penny tax is the best way to achieve that.

OU press secretary Corbin Wallace said in a statement on behalf of Boren Dec. 7 that he does not believe Hamm is opposed to more funding for education.

Hamm is a longtime donor to OU, and he and his ex-wife have donated more than $30 million to the university, including $20 million for the establishment of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

Hamm's relationship with the university goes deeper than cash, however. He also has a professional relationship with Boren, who serves on the Continental Resources Board of Directors. Boren received $349,720 for this position in 2014. 

Furthermore, according to an article by Bloomberg Business, Hamm wanted scientists who were studying connections between the oil and gas industry and earthquakes dismissed from the university.

Boren also came to Hamm's defense this summer after an article by Environment and Energy Publishing said the university formulated its position on whether or not the oil industry causes earthquakes, while it was seeking a grant from him.

"It is reprehensible to me that one or two people in the media have tried to attack a donor to the university for being so generous," Boren said in a statement released this past summer.

Stager said she could not speak for the other parties opposing Boren’s tax plan or say whether or not they hold the same grievances as the Oklahoma Municipal League, adding that the other parties may have a “different slant” on the matter. 

This article was corrected at 3:08 p.m. Dec. 9 to reflect that Harold Hamm is no longer married. 

Tanner Osborne is a journalism freshman and news reporter at the Daily.

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