Rep. Mike Brown calls for House investigation of Rep. Terrill’s action

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 05-Jan-2011

On Tuesday (January 4), state Representative Mike Brown, a Tahlequah Democrat, became the first Oklahoma state Representative to call for a House investigation of the charges surrounding Representative Randy Terrill, a Moore Republican, and allegations of impropriety in his dealings while a member of the Oklahoma State House.

“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 in a release from legislative staff, sent to CapitolBeatOK on Tuesday.

“It has affected the integrity of the House and deserves investigation,” Rep. Brown said.

District Attorney David Prater, a Democrat, has pressed criminal charges against GOP Representative Randy Terrill and former Senator Debbe Leftwich, a Democrat, for their involvement in what is characterized as a bribery scandal. This 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.

Tuesday’s press release from legislative staff noted that the House has launched investigations in the past in instances of impropriety in government including the two most recent incidents involving executive officers, former Insurance Commissioner Carol Fisher and former State Auditor Jeff McMahan.

The criminal trial for Representative Terrill is expected to be drawn out over several months, in Brown’s view. With the House convening Tuesday for Organizational Day and the full session beginning the first Monday of next month (Feb. 7), Terrill will be voting on legislation without being cleared of the charges of impropriety, Brown observed.

“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.”

Representative 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 House. He said the full findings should be released to the public so that they can see firsthand what any investigation has uncovered.

On Monday, after Terrill and Leftwich surrendered on the felony charges, House Minority (Democratic) Leader Scott Inman sent his own statement to CapitolBeatOK, saying, “It is disappointing and of great concern that Representative Terrill or any official elected by the people of Oklahoma would conduct themselves in a way that brings into question the integrity of our government. As the judicial process takes its course, it’s clear that there are still numerous unanswered questions that only greater transparency and accountability can answer.”

Inman continued, “If the allegations prove true, Rep. Terrill’s disappointing actions could nevertheless be the catalyst that is needed for the kind of honesty and transparency that Oklahomans deserve and desire.”

NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.