Henry accused of unlawfully funding organization

Tuesday, October 28th 2008, 10:38 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A war of words erupted at the state capitol Tuesday and Governor Brad Henry was caught in the middle.

Accusations were made that Henry unlawfully donated money from his campaign to the Young Democrats of Oklahoma.

With one week to go until the election of the country's next President, workers at the Oklahoma Democratic Headquarters have been busy, but the Party Chairman's attention has been focused elsewhere.

Democratic Party Chairman Ivan Holmes said the press release from State Representative Mike Reynolds is outrageous.

In the release, Reynolds accused Henry of exceeding the $5,000 limit a person can legally donate to one party and its affiliates.

"According to the ethics records that I've seen, the Governor gave $5,000 of his campaign account in 2007 to the Oklahoma Democratic Party and $5,000 out of his account to the Young Democrats for a total of $10, 000," the press release stated.

Holmes claims the release is wrong.

"The Governor has not given to the party this year, so that'd have nothing to do with it as far as a maximum contribution," Holmes said.

Reynolds said the donation to the Young Democrats raises a red flag regardless, because he said the group isn't affiliated with the state party.

"He can't give money out of his campaign account unless it's a committee that is a local or central committee of the Democratic Party," Reynolds said.

Holmes made it clear the Young Democrats are an official affiliate of the state party.

Holmes also said the accusations are nothing more than dirty politics to distract voters. If that is the case, NEWS 9 political analyst Scott Mitchell said they should have tried for something more captivating.

"It's the kind of manushia that captivates politics, but I'm not sure that public really cares," Mitchell said.

In the press release, Reynolds also claimed Holmes has a "pattern of violating or skirting state laws to facilitate illegal activity."

Holmes counters the accusation and said he's offended by the remarks. Holmes warned if Reynolds does not retract the released comments by noon Wednesday, he'll seek legal action.