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OK senators want to fundraise for veteran groups with ‘MAGA’ license plates

Proposed MAGA license plate for Oklahoma. (Sen. Nathan Dahm/Facebook)
January 21, 2020

Two Republican state senators in Oklahoma have proposed a bill that would create special license plates with “Make America Great Again” and “Keep America Great” slogans on them to donate the proceeds to two local charities for veterans.

Senators Nathan Dahm and Marty Quinn proposed the legislation Jan. 14. “I was joined today by Sen Marty Quinn to file our bill creating Make America Great Again #MAGA & Keep America Great #KAG license plates,” Dahm wrote on Facebook.

“Proceeds from them would go to 2 veterans groups here in Oklahoma: Folds of Honor & Warriors for Freedom Foundation.”

I was joined today by Sen Marty Quinn to file our bill creating Make America Great Again #MAGA & Keep America Great #KAG…

Posted by Nathan Dahm on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

There are currently 98 other license plate designs in Oklahoma that drivers in the state can purchase for $35, of which $20 goes to a charity.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1384, says the plates would donate $10 each to the charity groups for each license issued.

“Make America Great Again License Plate – such plates shall be designed and issued to any person wishing to demonstrate support for the proclamation made by Donald J. Trump to “Make America Great Again”. The license plates shall be designed in consultation with the corporation or entity designated by Donald J. Trump for such purposes,” the bill states.

“The Tax Commission shall be authorized to enter into a licensing agreement with the corporation or entity designated by Donald J. Trump for such purposes for any licensing fees which may be required in order to use the organization’s logo or design.”

While the proceeds of the license plate sales would benefit veteran groups, the law might violate federal election laws, some experts warn.

Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School, told The Washington Post that the creation of such licenses might violate Federal Election Commission rules.

“These are political slogans,” Briffault said. “This has the look and feel of using state resources to support a political candidate, which seems improper . . . and possibly illegal.”

Notably, an FEC spokesman told the Post that Dahm and Quinn haven’t submitted a request for an advisory opinion to see if the bill abides by federal law.

The license plates would not go toward President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and there are already other political license plates that Oklahoma drivers can purchase, including one that says, “Choose Life,” which references supports the pro-life movement, in opposition to abortion.

“This is a way that people can support America and support those ideas of keeping America great,” Dahm told Oklahoma’s News 4. “There’s people that are upset with the president just in general, so I understand that people have those feelings, potentially negative feelings towards the president, but the great thing is, here in America, you have freedom of speech.”