House Investigative Committee: Terrill reprimand is enough

A special investigative committee in the Oklahoma House of Representatives has concluded that a formal investigation into the actions of state Rep. Randy Terrill, an Oklahoma City Republican, is not warranted. 

Terrill is accused of bribery in a legislative scandal involving the asserted connection between the decision of a former Democratic senator not to seek reelection and the offer to her of a state job in return.

The alleged bribery, in connection with 2010 legislation Terrill had supported and for which he served as a House conferee, is under investigation by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater. 

As tensions mounted early in the 2011 legislative session, Terrill was reprimanded by the House for an alleged verbal attack on a House aide. 

The Committee, in a report issued today, concluded that unless a member’s conduct constitutes a felony, expulsion is not an appropriate punishment. Because Terrill has already been reprimanded, the group concluded, further punishment short of expulsion “would be unnecessarily duplicative.” 

The Committee is recommending that the House adopt rules establishing a permanent Ethics Committee. The panel also said that rules changes 

Members of the panel include the co-chairmen, Reps. Fred Jordan and Ben Sherrer, and members Gary Banz, Doug Cox, Steve Kouplen, Jeannie McDaniel, Purcy Walker and Harold Wright. Serving as legal counsel to the investigative committee were Andy Lester and Carrie L. Vaughn. 

The committee’s report was released Friday afternoon (September 16). Legislative leaders had scheduled later afternoon briefings to discuss the issue with members of the Capitol press corps.