Campaign finance documents from the Cleveland County election board show donations to Sheriff Joe Lester’s re-election campaign and expenditures for the 2016 election cycle.
Lester’s major contributors in 2016 included such notable names as attorney and TV personality Mike Turpen, country music entertainer Toby Keith, football coach Barry Switzer and his son-in-law Hunter Miller.
Miller and his wife hosted a major fundraiser for presidential candidate Donald Trump at their Norman home in September 2016, which drew large crowds of protestors. Switzer contributed a total of $6000 to the Lester campaign. Son-in-law Miller contributed $5000.
Lester accepted thousands of dollars in donations from various individual bankers, oil and gas drillers, real estate investors, developers, and homebuilders. Country music star Toby Keith (also known as Toby Covel) and partner Tricia Covel each contributed $2500 to the Lester campaign.
Norman attorney Stephen Teel, who obtained a controversial deputy reservist position with the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, contributed $2000 to Lester’s 2016 campaign.
Teel recently came to national media attention for suggesting he would support measures to decriminalize domestic abuse. Teel’s remarks were a response to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s approval of a measure to eliminate some penalties for domestic violence.
Stephen Teel’s large donations to Sheriff Lester’s campaigns have some critics calling him a “pay-to-play cop.”