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Oklahoma Ethics Commission votes Friday to withdraw its public reprimand of former DHS Commissioner Steven Dow

Oklahoma Ethics Commission withdraws public reprimand of Steven Dow.
by Randy Ellis Modified: June 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm •  Published: June 15, 2012

Dow wrote that DHS's commission chairman later sought and received a similar informal written opinion from the state attorney general's office.

“In a letter and accompanying legal memorandum sent by Assistant Attorney General Jan Preslar last month, we received a similar legal conclusion that there was not a conflict in my serving in both capacities,” Dow wrote.

An examination of the cover letter sent by the attorney general's office shows the findings of that office were inconclusive — at least concerning the question of whether a constitutional violation had occurred.

The letter said that the assistant attorney general who researched the case was unable to determine whether Dow had a “conflict of interest based on the limited facts we were provided.”

The letter listed a number of questions that would have to be answered before a determination could be made.

In the informal legal memorandum, however, an assistant attorney general wrote, “The DHS commissioner is not violating the Ethics Rules' conflict of interest provision if the DHS commissioner does not own or control, in the aggregate, at least 2 percent or a value of $5,000 of the outstanding equity of their respective employer company.”

It could not be determined whether this information was presented to the Ethics Commission before it issued its initial public reprimand or whether it was among the newly discovered evidence presented to commissioners Friday.

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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