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Ex-lawmaker to pay $31,000 to settle Ethics Commission suit

January 28, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former state legislator has reached a $31,000 settlement in a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission alleging he misused campaign funds.

Ex-Rep. Gus Blackwell has 60 days to pay, the Oklahoman reported . Blackwell agreed to pay $25,000 to the state government and another $6,000 to the commission.

The Ethics Commission’s suit alleged Blackwell “triple-dipped” at times, purchasing gas using a campaign credit card, and then reimbursing himself from his campaign funds for travel and then accepting state money for the same travel. The agency also accused him in the suit of failing to account more than $8,000 in donations.

The payment to the Ethics Commission will cover the agency’s lawyer fees, expenses and other costs.

Blackwell has already paid $10,000 in restitution to the state House to settle a criminal case related to the same allegations. Oklahoma County prosecutors charged Blackwell with 44 criminal counts in 2016 after he was accused of embezzling $23,741 in campaign funds, committing perjury and making false claims. The Ethics Commission filed suit on the same day.

He pleaded guilty to one felony perjury count in 2017 and admitted his final 2012 campaign report was false. He agreed in the criminal case to spend five years on probation, along with the restitution.

The former Republican House majority whip became a lobbyist in 2014 after term limits ended his stint in the Legislature. The settlement does not prohibit Blackwell from lobbying. He reported in January that he has one client, the Oklahoma Child Care Association.

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