Investigators are poring over prominent political consultant Chad Alexander’s emails and text messages looking for evidence of public corruption, campaign contribution violations and illegal collusion with political candidates.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater confirmed Thursday a criminal investigation is underway.
Prater’s chief investigator in July told a judge there is “direct evidence” in the text messages of possible collusion involving the campaign of state schools superintendent candidate Joy Hofmeister.
The records indicate Hofmeister wanted Alexander to use a “super PAC” to attack the incumbent schools superintendent, Janet Barresi, the investigator wrote in a search warrant affidavit.
A candidate and such groups are supposed to act independently.
“I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing,” Hofmeister said Thursday night. “I have never colluded nor ever authorized anyone on my campaign to interact with any independent expenditure on my behalf. I stand ready to cooperate and help in any way if asked.”
Hofmeister, a Tulsa Republican, beat Barresi in the June 24 primary election.
“Without question, this began as a political stunt by my opponent in an attempt to distract voters from her record,” Hofmeister said. “The voters saw through this overwhelmingly. I’m going to continue to stay focused on our campaign and continue advocating for the best education for our Oklahoma schoolchildren.”
Police seized Alexander’s two cellphones and a laptop computer after he was arrested during a drug stop in May.
Alexander, 41, of Choctaw, is charged with two felony counts of drug possession and a misdemeanor count of obstructing a police officer in the performance of his official duty. He has pleaded not guilty.
Alexander is accused in the felony counts of illegally possessing cocaine and illegally possessing prescription pain pills. He is accused in the misdemeanor count of telling an Oklahoma City police officer he was a Cleveland County assistant district attorney.
Prater’s chief investigator, Gary Eastridge, got permission from the judge in July to review the cellphone text messages and the laptop records for evidence of political wrongdoing.
He told the judge he was specifically looking for evidence showing collusion between Alexander and political consultant Fount Holland and Holland’s firm, A.H. Strategies.
The search warrants records were filed Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court.
Those records state there are thousands of text messages, emails and other communications currently being forensically analyzed.
Eastridge told the judge in July that multiple people contacted the district attorney’s office after Alexander’s drug arrest about his alleged political wrongdoing.
“These persons are all involved in political, campaign, lobbying and/or fundraising activities but do not wish to be named for fear of political and/or financial reprisal by Alexander and those connected to him,” Eastridge wrote.
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