Melson: Keating's Return of Cash Gifts Admits Wrongdoing

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gov. Frank Keating's return of $250,000 in cash gifts from a retired Wall Street financier amounts to "an admission of wrongdoing" and raises new questions, a Democratic official said Monday.

Gordon Melson, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said he will continue to push for state and federal investigations of the payments to Keating, his wife and children from Jack Dreyfus, mutual fund pioneer.

"The only reason Frank Keating returned any of this money is because it was exposed and he was suffering political damage, not because he suddenly developed a heightened sense of ethics," Melson said.

"Giving back the money does not excuse any ethical or legal violations he may have committed in accepting the cash and performing favors for Mr. Dreyfus."

Melson contends the acceptance of the money may have violated the governor's oath of office and his failure to publicly report the money violated state ethics laws on financial disclosure.

Dan Mahoney, Keating's director of communications, responded by calling Melson "a frustrated, defeated judge who gets paid to continue his partisan witch hunt on Gov. Keating."

He said the Dreyfus gifts were cleared by ethics panels in Washington, D.C., but "to remove even the slightest doubt in anyone's mind, the governor returned the money. …