Culture and the Family
Ray Carter | February 8, 2022
Paycom employees boost Democratic campaign
Paycom officials represent a substantial share of fourth-quarter donations to Joy Hofmeister’s gubernatorial campaign, making the company a significant player in the Democratic Party’s effort to win an election for Oklahoma governor for the first time since 2006.
Currently the state superintendent of public instruction, Hofmeister announced in October 2021 that she was switching parties to run for the Democratic nomination for governor. If she wins the nomination, she is expected to face incumbent Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt in the general election.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, the first in which Hofmeister was a gubernatorial candidate, she reported raising $538,134 from individuals. During that time, Stitt raised $1.19 million.
Hofmeister’s campaign report showed that 15 Paycom officials or individuals who appear to be related to or live with Paycom employees each contributed $2,900 apiece to the Democrat in the fourth quarter of 2021 for a combined $43,500 in donations.
Those donations came from individuals who identified themselves as Paycom employees or shared a home address with a Paycom employee.
Hofmeister’s donors included Paycom CEO Chad Richison and Charis Richison, who each donated $2,900 apiece.
Richison has criticized Stitt for not imposing greater COVID restrictions on Oklahomans since 2020.
In a public letter released in March 2020, Richison called for temporary closure of a range of businesses, “which includes, but is not limited to, hair salons, nail salons, spas and massage parlors.” He also endorsed requiring grocery stores to provide “drive-thru pick up or delivery for all customers,” and mandate that undefined “critical” businesses be required to coordinate “with state government.” Richison also called on state government to mandate how “food preparation and other critical portions of the supply chain” are handled under undefined “newly established uniform standards to prevent transmission of the virus.” Richison also called for postponement of so-called “elective surgeries” and endorsed having the government collect “all essential medical supplies” normally used for those surgeries or by “med spas and other medical organizations.” And Richison called for a ban “all non-essential” travel from Oklahoma airports.
In August 2021, Richison released a statement in opposition to Senate Bill 658, which allowed parents to choose whether or not their children wear a mask at school. The law states that schools may not implement “a mask mandate for students who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19” unless the district is in an area “under a current state of emergency declared by the Governor.”
Under Richison’s leadership, Paycom has also launched a service, “Clue,” to facilitate efforts to implement the Biden administration’s COVID-vaccine mandate by allowing employers to “collect, track and manage” employees’ data regarding vaccination status or compliance with mandatory testing.
In a Feb. 10 earnings call, Richison said the COVID-19 pandemic has benefited his company by forcing more businesses to use providers like Paycom.
In addition to Richison, the following Paycom employees or apparent family members of employees also donated to Hofmeister’s campaign: Paycom executive Dickens Aubourg; Jason Bodin, who works in public relations and marketing for Paycom; Paycom chief financial officer Craig Boelte and Paula Boelte; Paycom chief sales officer Holly Faurot and Paycom manager Seth Faurot; Paycom director Amy Fisher and Jonathan Fisher; A.J. Griffin, a former state senator who now serves as director of government and community affairs at Paycom; Paycom senior manager Christie McKeon and Kelly McKeon; Paycom executive Christopher Thomas; and Paycom executive Jeff York.
Richison has also injected himself or his company into several political issues outside the realm of COVID policy in recent years.
In a March 3, 2020 letter to the University of Oklahoma’s board of regents, Richison wrote that the university’s “previous diversity training efforts failed because they assured free speech protection.” He announced Paycom was yanking advertising from the school and called for OU to “put inclusion and diversity at the core for all Oklahomans, including the state’s flagship institution.”
In a Nov. 27, 2017 letter, Richison criticized former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn and former Gov. Frank Keating, characterizing them as working “against our future with constant negative rhetoric and no workable solutions” because the two state leaders publicly urged lawmakers not to raise taxes at a time when Oklahoma’s working families had already experienced a massive loss of income and jobs.
In 2021, Paycom became the lead sponsor for “Advancing Oklahoma,” a program offered to the members of Leadership Oklahoma, The Oklahoma Academy, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
The program, described as “a lengthy conversation about race and race relations in Oklahoma,” has since featured a speaker who declared there is “a very high correlation between the most racist attitudes in America and white evangelical Christianity” and another speaker who said, “People bristle when they say, ‘America is a racist country.’ The question then becomes, ‘What makes you so uncomfortable with that concept?’” The program has also featured a speaker who endorsed “defund the police” efforts.
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.