Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Democrat Calls For Terrill House Probe; Steele Says House 'Reviewing' Options, Obligations

Rep. Mike Brown
Democratic Rep. Mike Brown of Tahlequah today called for a House investigation into Republican Randy Terrill's actions. 

Brown cited the allegations of impropriety in Terrill's dealings while a member of the Oklahoma State House.

In response, House Speaker Kris Steele said, “The charges in question are very serious and are being treated as such by the members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. We are in the process of carefully reviewing our options and obligations as a legislative body. Any actions taken must comply with the rule of law, respect the rights of the accused, and fulfill our duty to the public.”

“The actions that resulted in Representative Terrill being charged with a crime took place in conjunction with his service in the Oklahoma State House and as such, it is our responsibility as duly elected officials to ensure that we know the full extent of any corruption or misconduct,” stated Brown. “It has affected the integrity of the House and deserves investigation.”

District Attorney David Prater has pressed criminal charges Terrill and former Senator Debbe Leftwich for their involvement in a bribery scandal.

The scandal includes allegations that legislation resulting from Terrill’s involvement in his official capacity in the Oklahoma State House was used as a bribe in an elaborate political scheme.

“While there is an ongoing criminal investigation, some of these actions took place at the Oklahoma State House and without our own investigation, there is truly no way to know the full extent of involvement by the House and our members including Representative Terrill,” Brown explained.

The Oklahoma State House has launched investigations in the past in instances of impropriety in government including the two most recent incidents involving former Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher and former State Auditor Jeff McMahan.

The criminal trial for Representative Terrill is expected to be drawn out over several months.

With the House convening today for Organizational Day and the full session beginning the first Monday in February, Terrill will be voting on legislation without being cleared of the charges of impropriety.

“Before we start session, it is not too much to ask for Speaker Steele to call for formation of an investigative committee to ensure that the Oklahoma State House and the integrity of the Oklahoma State government have not been compromised,” Brown continued.

“Regardless of party or political leanings, a part of good governance is about rooting out corruption.”

Brown concluded that the findings of any investigation by the House should have the goal of helping to restore the trust of the public in the Oklahoma House and the full findings should be released to the public so that they can see firsthand what any investigation has uncovered.

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