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Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones sues over lost elections

Modified: November 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm •  Published: November 24, 2009

Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones has filed a lawsuit against convicted former Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan and others alleging they used fraudulent campaign finance practices to cheat Jones out of being elected state auditor and inspector.

Jones' lawsuit, filed Monday in Logan County, alleges that McMahan and his wife, Lori, former state Auditor and Inspector Clifton Scott, former state Sen. Gene Stipe and businessman Steve Phipps conspired to violate state campaign finance laws to give Jeff McMahan "an illegal, unfair and unethical election advantage" in elections in 2002 and 2006.

The allegations mirror those by federal prosecutors during a public corruption trial in Muskogee last year in which McMahan, a Democrat, was accused of showing favoritism in his official actions as state auditor to Phipps in exchange for cash, jewelry, campaign contributions, fishing trips, and travel to places such as New Orleans and Boston.

Prosecutors alleged McMahan accepted the items in exchange for favorable treatment of Phipps' abstract companies, which were once regulated by the auditor and inspector's office.

Phipps, a key prosecution witness at McMahan's trial, admitted that he and two business partners, including Stipe, funneled $157,882 into McMahan's 2002 campaign. The legal limit is $5,000 per person.

McMahan was convicted on felony counts of conspiracy and accepting bribes on June 14, 2008, and resigned two days later, forestalling an impeachment effort in the state House. He was sentenced in January to eight years and one month in federal prison.

Lori McMahan was sentenced to six years and six months on related charges.

Jones' lawsuit alleges the defendants committed fraud, interfered with his opportunity to be elected auditor and inspector, violated federal racketeering statutes and caused emotional anguish.

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