Reynolds acknowledges contribution violation

Thursday, July 24th 2008, 11:25 am
By: News 9

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Mike Reynolds received $10,000 in contributions from an Oklahoma City oilman this year in violation of state ethics rules, his campaign reports indicate.

Reynolds' reports show Marlin Oil President Ralph Harvey gave $5,000, the maximum allowed, to Reynolds' 2006 campaign committee on Feb. 14 and another $5,000 to Reynolds' 2008 campaign committee on April 4.

Ethics Commission laws state six months must pass before a candidate can accept the maximum amount from contributors for two separate committees.

Reynolds, an Oklahoma City Republican who faces a GOP challenger in next week's primary election, said he has returned the $5,000 contribution Harvey made to his 2008 campaign.

"It was a contribution that I should not have accepted until Aug. 14," Reynolds said Wednesday. "We accepted it early by mistake, and we've returned it."

Reynolds is the only state elected official seeking the same office with two open campaign committees, said Marilyn Hughes, the Ethics Commission's director. A commission rule that went into effect July 1, 2007, requires a candidate seeking the same office to close out a campaign committee before starting a new one.

Reynolds said the rule doesn't apply to him because he formed his 2008 campaign committee May 29, 2007, before the rule took effect.

It's the second time Reynolds has received $5,000 maximum contributions from the same individual within six months for his 2006 and 2008 committees.

Ethics Commission reports show Mike Marshall, chief executive officer of 5 Star Co., gave $5,000 to Reynolds' 2006 committee on Jan. 31, 2007, and $5,000 to Reynolds' 2008 committee on May 29, 2007.

"I don't have go give it back to him because he'd turn back around and give it to me again," Reynolds said. He added that it would be legal because it's been more than six months since Marshall wrote the first check.

Reynolds, seeking a fourth term for House District 91, is being opposed by Jon Echols of Oklahoma City. The winner of Tuesday's GOP primary will win the race. No Democrats or independents have filed for the two-year post.