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Prosecutor Blasts Commission's Letter As Unethical

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma County's top prosecutor says he doesn't approve of a letter from the state county commissioners association seeking donations from private vendors who do business with counties.

The donations are being solicited for a scholarship program for the children of county commissioners.

District Attorney David Prater told The Oklahoman the letter may be legal, but he believes it's unethical and doesn't pass the "smell test."

Several vendors complained to the newspaper that they felt pressured to give if they wanted to continue getting business from counties.

The letter was signed by Johnston County Commissioner Mike Thompson, who is president of the commissioners' association.

Johnston and officials with the association say extortion was never their intention, and it never crossed their minds the letters might be interpreted that way.

Executive Director of the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma Gayle Ward says the group may halt vendor participation in the program, which has raised about $10,000 for scholarships this year.
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