FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
FORMER OKLAHOMA STATE SENATOR GENE STIPE SENTENCED FOR PERJURY, CONSPIRACY, AND FEDERAL ELECTIONS VIOLATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray of the Criminal Division announced today that former Oklahoma state senator Gene Stipe has been sentenced to five years probation for perjury, conspiracy to obstruct a Federal Election Commission investigation, and conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Stipe, 77, of McAlester, Oklahoma, was sentenced this afternoon by the Honorable James Robertson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. As a condition of his probation, Stipe was ordered to serve six months of home detention with electronic monitoring. He was also fined $735, 567, the maximum allowable for a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service.
These charges against Stipe, formerly a partner in the Stipe Law Firm of McAlester, Oklahoma, stem from his role in Walter L. Roberts’s 1998 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Oklahoma’s Third District. At his April 1, 2003 plea, Stipe admitted to funneling illegally $245,189 to the Roberts campaign through a variety of schemes, including: the transfer of $20,500 to the campaign supposedly for the sale of a trailer when, in fact, no sale was completed; the transfer of $17,000 to the campaign supposedly as payment for advertising services which no one ever intended to perform; the transfer of $67,500 to the campaign supposedly for the sale of cattle when, in fact, there was no such cattle sale; the transfer of $55,000 to the campaign supposedly pursuant to an option contract, which was actually a sham; and the transfer of $86,689 to 39 individuals who, at the direction of Stipe and others, then contributed that money to the Roberts campaign, thereby causing the Roberts campaign to file numerous FEC reports misidentifying the true sources of the funds.
The FEC investigated these schemes. Stipe admitted that during the course of the investigation, he repeatedly lied to the FEC in sworn written and oral statements. Stipe acknowledged that he intended for his lies to obstruct the FEC’s investigation.
As part of his plea, Stipe agreed to surrender his license to practice law in every state in which he holds such a license, and to not seek reinstatement until the termination of any supervised release or probation conditions the court may impose.
“Lawmakers have a special duty and obligation to preserve the integrity of the elections process and uphold the trust placed in them by the American people,” said Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray. “Gene Stipe, a fixture of Oklahoma politics for the past 50 years, has betrayed that trust by lying and obstructing a federal investigation. His conviction and sentence are a stern reminder that no elected official is above the law.”
Stipe is the fourth person to enter a guilty plea and to be sentenced based on charges arising from Roberts’s 1998 congressional campaign. Former congressional candidate Roberts, Stipe’s personal secretary Charlene Spears, and former Oklahoma State Senator James E. Lane have also been sentenced to terms of home confinement or probation based on their roles in the fraudulent schemes and cover-up that ensued.
The case was prosecuted by trial attorneys Howard Sklamberg and Matthew Solomon of the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after a criminal referral by the FEC.