OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ When former state Sen. Gene Stipe was trying to get the licenses of his McAlester radio stations transferred, he turned to the office of someone who helped get an investigation launched that ultimately led to Stipe's criminal convictions.
Stipe contacted Sen. Jim Inhofe's office about the status of his application to the Federal Communications Commission to transfer the licenses held by his company, Bottom Line Broadcasting, to Southeastern Oklahoma Radio, The Oklahoman reported.
The Oklahoman obtained the letter the FCC sent Inhofe, R-Okla.
After Inhofe's office inquired about the matter, a Jan. 18 letter from the chief of the FCC's office of Broadcast License Policy informed Inhofe that Stipe's application had been approved.
The FCC has since withdrawn approval of the deal and is reviewing the application again because of Stipe's 2003 guilty pleas to federal felony charges of lying about his schemes to funnel more than $235,000 illegally into the 1998 congressional campaign of Walt Roberts.
The FCC has rules about the character of license holders, and Stipe may ultimately have to forfeit the licenses, rather than profit from their transfer.
An investigation into Stipe's activities was launched after a complaint was filed in 1998 by the state's congressional delegation, which included Inhofe.
Inhofe spokesman Danny Finnerty said last week that Inhofe never personally contacted the FCC in regard to Stipe's situation.
Finnerty said an Inhofe aide took the material Stipe sent and forwarded it to the FCC's legislative affairs office with a cover letter that stated in part, ``Because of the desire of this office to be responsive to all inquiries and communications, your consideration of the enclosed information is requested. Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.''
A decision regarding Stipe's case still is pending, a spokeswoman said.