In yet another stunning turn of events, embattled democratic Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel has publicly disclosed his intent to return all donations from the notorious gambler Teddy Mitchell. Oklahoma Ethics Commission records show three donations from Mitchell to Whetsel, $1260 on April 27th, 2009, $800 on September 28th, 2009, and $630 on May 6th, 2010. All of these donations were prior to the tragic unsolved murder of Mitchell's wife Julie, 34, on November 2nd, 2010 (timeline, Daily Oklahoman).

Whetsel's disclosure of his intent to return all $2690 comes after the most recent troubles surrounding Mr. Mitchell's alleged gambling operation. In an 81-count indictment handed down by the FBI on September 21st, 2012, 10 people including Mr. Mitchell, 57, were charged with a host of crimes. Also indicted were Mr. Mitchell's sons (and step-sons of Julie Mitchell) Dryden Mitchell and Billy Mitchell.

Democratic incumbent Sheriff Whetsel stated in a Daily Oklahoman article  (which curiously has comments disabled):

“I already have a check written to return that money, I just have to take it to his attorney's office,” Whetsel said Wednesday. “It will probably be tomorrow; we just got the check in this last week and I've been swamped.”
Whetsel said it is his policy to return donations from people who have been indicted or charged with a crime.

Attorney Scott Adams, Mr. Mitchell's attorney, is also a contributor to democratic Sheriff Whetsel. He donated $1000 on April 14th, 2011. Based on the quote above, it remains to be seen if Sheriff Whetsel does not take money from just those indicted, like Mitchell, or their attorneys, such as Adams.

Sheriff Whetsel has not publicly indicated if he will return donations from other attorneys, or convicted felons.  An example of this is Leo Kingston ($500, August 22, 2011). From Mr. Kingston's appeal before the United States Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit:

The indictment charged defendant with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; five counts of making false statements and causing false statements to be made and concealing material facts or causing material facts to be concealed, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 1002; eight counts of mail fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1342; and one count of equity skimming and aiding and abetting, in violation of 12 U.S.C. § 1709-2 and 18 U.S.C. § 2. A jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts. 

The ethics commission number for the Sheriff John Whestel Campaign 2012 is 712013. A full list of all donors through August 13th, 2012, is available, free of charge. A pre-election report formerly here due no later than 8 days prior to the election, which will surely shed more light on just exactly who is financially backing the Sheriff.

Steve Dickson