D.A. Says Embattled Commissioner Can't Be Removed From Office

Wednesday, April 11th 2007, 2:19 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Commissioner Brent Rinehart can not be removed from office by his fellow commissioners based on allegations that he illegally financed his 2004 election campaign, District Attorney David Prater said in an opinion Wednesday.

Rinehart's two fellow commissioners have no authority to take action because the crimes are alleged to have occurred before he was a commissioner, Prater wrote.

Ouster proceedings could go forward if Rinehart is convicted, the district attorney said.

``The mere allegations are not enough to remove someone from office,'' Prater said after the commissioners met Wednesday.

Rinehart, in a statement, said he would continue working effectively as a county commissioner.

``Today, the rule of law and Constitutional protections have prevailed. The citizens of Oklahoma County will continue to have an outspoken advocate of reform on the Board of County Commissioners,'' Rinehart said.

Rinehart and his former campaign manager, Tim Pope, are accused of soliciting excessive donations from at least three people and illegally funneling the money into Rinehart's 2004 election campaign for county commissioner.

Rinehart and Pope are charged with money laundering, conspiracy, perjury and other counts. Each has denied the allegations.

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