OGWA Present Matt Coday illegally withheld his non-profit financial records for seven months.

Controversy continues to surround Oil and Gas Workers Association (OGWA) Founder and President Matt Coday, with the embattled activist finally releasing a spreadsheet summary of his non-profit’s financial records after illegally refusing to disclose them for seven months, but only after final notice that criminal charges would be filed regarding his willful refusal to follow the law.

Coday has been the subject of an ongoing Odessa Headlines investigation into numerous claims he has made regarding his organization, including having 46,000 members, and now claims regarding his lobbying efforts.

Past board members raised concerns with OGWA, saying they resigned after Coday refused to provide them with copies of bylaws, or financial records – with sources telling Odessa Headlines Coday uses the non-profit for personal gain.

A search into Coday’s background revealed an extensive criminal past that includes numerous theft-related criminal charges, one felony-level offense, as well as multiple charges for terroristic threat, deadly conduct, and driving while intoxicated. He is also admittedly a former drug addict.

Every attempt by Odessa Headlines to obtain the non-profit financial records for OGWA over the past seven months has been met with a fit of rage by Coday who regularly lashed out in emails and online making a wide range of accusations that ended with no records being released. It was only after Odessa Headlines gave final notice that a criminal complaint could be filed that he finally produced an Excel spreadsheet, which has raised a host of new questions.

OGWA Financial Spreadsheet/Odessa Headlines
OGWA Financial Spreadsheet. Image by Odessa Headlines

The spreadsheet shows “membership revenue” starting in 2020 at $411, increasing to $3801 for 2021, and then dramatically increasing in 2022 to $54,281.

Coday’s membership revenue numbers directly contradict what Coday told his board members last year, with a source telling Odessa Headlines he informed his board that at the end of 2021, there was only one dues-paying member for a “total paid membership revenue of $60” — not $3801 as his spreadsheet claims.

Other public records paint a picture that the disclosures Coday finally released do not add up.

According to lobby data obtained from the Texas Ethics Commission, reports show OGWA hired a state lobbyist for several contacts in amounts ranging from $18,360 to $46,579.99, but Coday’s spreadsheet shows no expenditures have been paid to hire a lobbyist.

Further research revealed a loophole in state lobby disclosure laws, whereby a potential lobby client can inform a registered lobbyist of their intention to hire them and potentially pay them a certain amount during that period. The lobbyist then must report the client and payment range regardless of whether the client ever actually follows through on hiring and paying the lobbyist. In the case of a non-profit like OGWA, the only way to tell if it did hire/pay the lobbyist is through its public records disclosures.

The summary financial information provided by Coday does not show any payments to lobbyists  which raises a host of new questions about whether Coday has engaged in unregistered lobbying himself, with a host of posts on social media showing Coday, as the organization’s head, meeting with lawmakers to influence public policy on behalf of the organization.

While Coday’s spreadsheet indicates OGWA has grossed roughly $76 thousand in income during its lifetime, and incurred $114 thousand in expenses, Coday has claimed an Odessa Headline’s story last year reporting on lewd and sexists remarks he made online regarding a female elected official cost him “$1.2 million” in pledged and anticipated revenue.

Sources familiar with OGWA who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution and harassment say they believe Coday has received substantial donations after being prominently featured in national news broadcasts, such as a Fox News segment offering a rebuttal to the Biden Administration on oil and gas policy.

Coday’s often heated comments online indicating a potential for substantially higher revenue estimates than he has officially disclosed, combined with his refusal to release public financial records – beyond the small, unaudited spreadsheet he finally released —creates more questions than answers regarding the OGWA finances.