County Records Part Of Ongoing Investigation

By Brian Brus
The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY – The attorney general’s office is awaiting word from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation before deciding to assign a special prosecutor in the investigation of Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart, OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said Tuesday.

The bureau earlier this month retrieved two years of records from County Clerk Carolynn Caudill’s office, officials confirmed. The OSBI took copies of the database of general fund vendor payments and highway cash fund vendor payments. Deputy Clerk Mark Mishoe described the records as “basically just a report on expenditure and purchase orders for districts 2 and 3.”

“We were asked by the district attorney’s office to look into possible official misconduct,” Brown said. “Not just official conduct, but possible violations of Oklahoma campaign (financing) law.”

The records covered a period from late 2004 to late 2006. Rinehart was elected at the end of 2004 and took office the following January to represent District 2, which encompasses parts of Oklahoma City, Bethany, Del City, Midwest City, Choctaw and Harrah.

Commissioner Stan Inman, who represents District 3, was defeated in this election season’s primaries. He was elected to the office in 2002.

When asked about the status of the investigation, Brown said, “We’ve held dozens of interviews, collected some records … and we’re continuing our investigation.”

Rinehart has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said he has cooperated with authorities in the matter.

Brown said, “It could be a couple more weeks; it could be a couple more months. These types of investigations are so hard to wrap up.”

She also has said the bureau continues to investigate Rinehart’s 2004 campaign manager,former state legislator Tim Pope, on concerns involving campaign contribution caps and the Oklahoma Republican Assembly political action committee.

Pope also has denied wrongdoing.

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