Law & Principles
Staff | November 10, 2022
Lawmaker’s smear campaign fails
An Oklahoma court has ordered the expungement of bogus victim protective orders sought by a legislator’s wife while the lawmaker was in a tough reelection campaign.
“Victim-protective orders should be an important safeguard for abused individuals, not a campaign gimmick to be exploited by unscrupulous politicians desperate to cling to power,” said Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA). “That a court has ordered the expungement of the victim-protective orders sought by state Representative Anthony Moore’s spouse—without any objection from the Moores—highlights the complete fraud that was perpetrated on voters in western Oklahoma.”
In June, Representative Moore’s spouse filed legal paperwork in Custer County District Court seeking victim-protection orders against Small; Dave Bond, OCPA’s vice president for advocacy; and Ray Carter, director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism.
Representative Moore’s spouse alleged that Small, Bond, and Carter were each responsible for “concerning and unsettling” text messages she claimed to have received from two phone numbers and indicated the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) said the texts were from Small, Bond, and Carter.
Those claims were false. Small, Bond, and Carter have never met, spoken to, or texted Representative Moore’s spouse. No OSBI investigation involving the three ever occurred. The Moores never produced any texts from any of the three men or provided any evidence to support their claims against them.
Furthermore, Representative Moore’s spouse filled out her request for a VPO order under a section of the form that indicated Small, Bond, and Carter were Mrs. Moore’s current or former spouses, individuals she had dated or had a sexual relationship with, a parent of her child, or someone that Mrs. Moore lived with or had an intimate relationship with.
None of the three men had any relationship with Representative Moore’s spouse, let alone an intimate relationship.
“Everything in the request regarding me was a flagrant lie,” Carter said. “And the Moores knew it. This was the Oklahoma equivalent of the Jussie Smollett hoax.”
After the requests for protective orders were filed, Moore touted them on the campaign trail, claiming his family had been targeted by political opponents.
“I’ve worked in campaigns and at the state Capitol for a decent while,” Bond said. “I’ve seen politicians who had good reason to want to change the subject from their record. I’ve seen politicians intentionally misspeak about their record. But I’ve never seen a politician risk a perjury charge against his spouse to avoid talking about his record. That’s special.”
A court hearing on the petition was set for July 5—which was after the June 28 primary election. The hearing was the first opportunity for Small, Bond, and Carter to defend themselves in court, and would have been the first time the Moores were required to produce actual texts and OSBI reports backing up their claims.
Instead, the Moores abruptly withdrew the petitions the Friday before the July 5 hearing.
When Small, Bond, and Carter filed to have the bogus petitions expunged from their records, the Moores quietly signed off on the request.
“Ask yourself this: If someone threatened your wife and family, would you ever agree to expunge that record?” Small asked. “If you need evidence that the VPO petitions were fraudulent, look no further.”