While Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater dropped charges today against state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister and four political operatives, the case remains under investigation.
“We’re not done,” Prater told NonDoc Tuesday. “We’ve had information come to us over the last several months regarding one or more of the defendants that we need to follow up on before we take the case to preliminary hearing.”
Hofmeister, leading GOP political strategist Fount Holland, former Oklahoma Education Association director Lela Odom, former Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration director Steven Crawford and political consultant Stephanie Milligan were all charged with conspiracy and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act in November.
Hofmeister was also charged with two counts related to state campaign rules. All counts were felonies.
The investigation stems from Hofmeister’s successful 2014 candidacy for the state’s top education post. She, Holland, Odom, Crawford and Milligan were all alleged to have conspired for the creation of a “dark money” campaign to support her candidacy over that of incumbent Janet Barresi in the Republican primary.
Hearing had been set
According to a report by Nolan Clay on NewsOK.com, Prater requested that a judge drop the charges Tuesday. Clay reported that a preliminary hearing had been set for Aug. 16 through Aug. 18.
Hofmeister has remained in office during the investigation.
From Clay’s story (sic):
Prosecutors alleged in the case that she illegally colluding with a dark money group to win election in 2014.
Prosecutors alleged Hofmeister, 52, used the group, Oklahomans for Public School Excellence, to secretly accept illegal excessive donations and illegal corporate donations.
Hofmeister held a press conference early Tuesday evening with dozens of supporters.
“This is a joyful day for me and my family,” she said. Video from NewsOK is available here.
Prater has prosecuted political crimes before, most notably concerning former Rep. Randy Terrill and former Sen. Debbe Leftwich. The pair conspired for Leftwich to vacate her south-OKC senate seat in exchange for a newly created state position within the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office.