( – promoted by DocHoc)
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, world famous for his controversial remarks about global warming, faces more problems in his reelection campaign than just low Republican voter turnout.
The 73-year-old Senator may face serious questions about his role in events leading to an ongoing lawsuit against Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and the resignation of the university’s former president, Richard Roberts.
Inhofe, along with U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, were recently listed as possible witnesses in the lawsuit brought by Tim and Paulita Brooker. The Brookers claim in the lawsuit that Roberts forced Tim Booker’s ORU government class to help get Randi Miller elected as Tulsa mayor in 2006. This action, if true, could call into question the college’s nonprofit status.
Inhofe urged Miller, who lost the election and currently serves as a Tulsa County Commissioner, to run for mayor, according to The Tulsa World. Internal university emails, obtained by the newspaper, also show Roberts was urged by his sister-in-law Stephanie Cantees to thank Inhofe for assisting the university.
“Might want to in your thank you to Inhofe for his assistance in helping encourage usage of city plex for fema and any govt office,” the email states. CityPLex, owned by the university, is an office building. Apparently the university sought Inhofe’s help in encouraging government agencies to rent space at CityPlex, according to the email.
Roberts, the son of televangelist Oral Roberts, was heavily criticized for his lavish lifestyle and administration of the university before he resigned.
It is unclear what Coburn’s testimony would reveal about his own relationship with the university. Several other notable people, including Miller, former Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune and former U.S. Reps. Bob Beauprez (Colorado) and James Traficant (Ohio) were also listed as witnesses.
The lawsuit, Miller’s public comments about Inhofe and how ORU students helped in her campaign and the email raise serious questions about Inhofe’s relationship with the beleaguered college.
Did Inhofe encourage the college to violate IRS rules about the political activities of nonprofit organizations? Did Inhofe seek out special favors for the college as it knowingly violated IRS rules?
Inhofe, who has embarrassed the state repeatedly with his bizarre comments that global warming is a political “hoax,” won Tuesday’s Republican primary. But low Republican voter turnout Tuesday-compared to the Democratic turnout-probably shows state voters lack enthusiasm for GOP candidates this year up and down the ticket, and that includes Inhofe. State Sen. Andrew Rice won the Democratic primary Tuesday handily but, according to conservative pundits, by-a-less-than-expected margin. He still faces a difficult battle against Inhofe, who has more campaign money.
John Wylie, pubisher of the Oologah Lake Leader, a newspaper located in the eastern part of the state, editorialized about Inhofe and the ORU controversy last November:
The heart of this scandal has never been Lindsay Roberts’ personal life or whether the Roberts enjoyed a lavish lifestyle at university expense while it careened towards financial ruin.
It is about the state and federal felonies of tax fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, violations of the RICO statutes and obstruction of justice.
Inhofe is almost certain to be deposed as civil and perhaps criminal probes move forward.
“What did you know and when did you know it?” are not questions any politician seeking reelection wants to answer under oath.