Former Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation president Dr. Joe Braly has been issued a public reprimand for donating funds from the not-for-profit organization to several political campaigns.

According to John Raley, chairman of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, Braly withdrew money from Tri-County's checking and savings accounts totaling $3,100 and gave them to such campaigns as "Oklahomans For Mike Thompson 2006," "HPAC," an Oklahoma registered political action committee and "Friends of Hiett 2006."

"The Commission finds that, in withdrawing funds from the TRICO savings account for purchase, in your name, of the two $1,000 money orders — one to the Hiett campaign and the other to PRO OK PAC — you intended to obscure the money trail, the identity of the true contributor — TRICO — and the nature of the funds," Raley said in the letter of public reprimand to Braly. "Further, the Commission finds that by writing, or causing to be written, the letters "LLC" on the TRICO check and contributor statement given HPAC, you actively deceived the committee with respect to that contribution, leading them to believe the contribution was not from a corporation, but a limited liability company."

"The letter is true," Kevin Flowers, president of the Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation said. "Everything in the letter is true. The board was aware and already looking into those transactions before the investigation began."

"The Commission further finds none of the recipient committees had knowledge that corporate dollars funded the contribution you provided," the letter said. "Nor could any be expected to know since, under these facts, you engaged in a plan or scheme to hide from them the true character and identity of these funds. Finally, the Commission finds that you committed these acts without the knowledge, permission, authorization, acquiescence or ratification of the TRICO Board of Directors, its chairman, past-chairman and/or its executive committee."

According to a press release presented by the Ethics Commission, because the commission found the recipient committees had no knowledge that they were being given corporate contributions, none were prosecuted in this matter. Upon learning they had inadvertently accepted corporation money, each of the four committees voluntarily returned the full amount of the contribution.

Braly served as president of Tri-County for two years before he was terminated April 19. He was charged with a total of four counts of rule violation. According to the press release, Braly attempted to make a fifth contribution but it was denied when the campaign committee checked with the Secretary of State and learned that Tri-County was an Oklahoma corporation.

"Tri-County has turned a new leaf," Flowers said of the current staff. "There's a lot of men and women down there working extremely hard."

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