Bartmann idictment has political fallout. - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Bartmann idictment has political fallout.

State politicians continue to distance themselves from Commercial Financial Services Inc. co-founder Bill Bartmann following his indictment earlier this week.

But outgoing Gov. Frank Keating,a public supporter for Bartmann during CFS's heyday, said he had no regrets over his earlier endorsements of the entrepreneur's actions.

"Any good governor would do nothing but embrace a man who created 3,900 jobs for the state," Keating said Friday. "You have to put things in context.

"When he was riding high, anyone who gave a whit about the state would have embraced him and embraced him warmly."

State lawmakers passed two pieces of legislation in 1998 that affected CFS: One allowed the company to offer credit cards; the other promised as much as $120 million in tax incentives.

Bartmann was charged Tuesday with conspiracy, mail fraud and bank fraud among items in a 58-count federal indictment stemming from CFS's failure.

Since the indictment, those whose campaign war chests included recent donations from Bartmann have been contributing that money to charity.

From 1996 to 1998, donations totaling nearly $200,000 were given to at least 63 individual candidates for state offices. Bartmann also gave $150,000 to the Republican Governors Association and $100,000 to the Republican National Committee.

That money might have been spent, but recent contributions have been donated.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., U.S. Rep. Brad Carson, D-Okla., and state Attorney General Drew Edmondson each received campaign contributions from Bartmann during the 2002 elections and have since donated that money to charity.

State Treasurer Robert Butkin said he planned to do the same,
while incoming Gov. Brad Henry has taken a wait-and-see approach.

"I will be making a charitable contribution within the next four or five days," said Butkin, whose re-election campaign received $1,200 from Bartmann.

The state treasurer said it was important to remember that any defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

"I don't think there should be any rush to judgment," Butkin said. "Still, this seems like the right thing to do."

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