Former Oklahoma state senator to pay thousands to settle campaign ethics violations

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A former Oklahoma state senator will pay thousands of dollars in an agreement with the state's ethics board connected to a campaign finance investigation.

Kyle Loveless,  agreed Friday to pay more than $160,000 to the state's general revenue fund, election board and ethics commission to settle the ethics investigation into his campaign.

Loveless, a Republican who represented District 45, resigned from his seat in April. At the time, Loveless was at the center of an investigation looking in to a number of alleged ethics violations, including 21 donations from political action committees totaling nearly $30,000 that went unreported by his 2016 campaign fund, according to documents obtained by NewsChannel 4.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater confirmed to NewsChannel 4 in April that there was an ongoing criminal investigation into misappropriation of funds and embezzlement involving Loveless. Calls to Prater Friday afternoon for comment on the settlement have not yet been returned.

The settlement agreement says Loveless converted more than $100,000 of 2016 and 2012 campaign funds to personal use -- a violation of ethics rules -- for things not connected to his campaign or position as a state senator. Such items include, "but not limited to, purchases of flowers, clothing and accessories, toys, household repairs, automobile tires and repairs, sporting event tickets, theater tickets, and medical and dental expenses," according to the filing.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission started its probe in to Loveless' campaign coffers in November 2016. On April 14, 2017, it found that there was "reasonable cause to believe that a violation of contribution and expenditure reporting and improper use of contributions had occurred and that such violations were willful."

He resigned from his seat 13 days later on April 27.

"I hereby irrevocably resign my office as State Senator for District 45 effective immediately. I tender this resignation with much regret. Mistakes I have made are the responsibility of no one other than myself," Loveless said in his April resignation letter.

The commission found that Loveless failed to accurately report contributions and expenditures, intentionally filed multiple expenditure and contribution reports "excessively late" in violation of ethics rules, paid for campaign expenditures in cash, and used a deposit account not registered in the name of the candidate committee.

To settle the investigation, Loveless will pay $112,524.35 to the state's general revenue fund. All campaign reports and accounts must be filed and closed; any assets of the Loveless for State Senate 2016 candidate committee must be sold, the remaining balances and sale proceeds are to go the general revenue fund.

He will also have to pay $40,000 to the Oklahoma State Election Board to cover some of the costs of the special election to fill the vacant senate seat. The settlement also requires Loveless to give the Oklahoma Ethics Commission $10,000 for attorney fees, costs and other expenses.

Under the agreement, Loveless cannot seek a position where his salary would be paid by federal, state, local or municipal funds. He also cannot work as a consultant or lobbyist.

Calls to Loveless and his attorney for comment have not been returned.