Kunzweiler — ‘insufficient evidence’ of legal violations by Jones

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler on Friday, Feb. 25 released a statement to the effect an official review of Osage County redistricting found “insufficient evidence” to support allegations that District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones might have committed a legal violation or violations.

Kunzweiler’s full statement is as follows: “The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office was appointed by the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma to review a complaint regarding Osage County Commissioner Randall Jones. Based upon the information provided, our office conducted an investigation into allegations related to whether Commissioner Jones committed a crime under Oklahoma law. While there may be concerns regarding what decisions and considerations are made regarding redistricting following a census - which is a legislatively mandated construct - it remains the responsibility of legislative bodies to make those decisions. The Osage County Commissioners are a part of that process for Osage County. There is insufficient evidence that Commissioner Jones violated Oklahoma law.”

The complaint regarding Commissioner Jones was assigned to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office after Osage County District Attorney Mike Fisher sought to have an outside agency handle it.

The Journal-Capital contacted Kunzweiler’s office about three weeks ago, seeking an update on the review/investigation, which was requested in the fall of 2021.

Leading members of the Osage County Republican Party Executive Committee, including Wayne Hill and Jeff Clymer, sought in November to use the investigation as a basis for a request that Osage County commissioners postpone the adoption of a new redistricting plan for the county. They also requested that Jones recuse himself from any final vote on the plan.

Jones, a Republican from Pawhuska, did not recuse himself. The Board of County Commissioners adopted a new plan.

Jones said Friday by telephone that the accusations leveled against him were baseless. He said he didn’t do the things of which he was accused, and the whole situation was created by political opponents.

Jones said he was just surprised the matter went as far as it did. He added that he intended to make a statement in a meeting of the county board.