Timing of Events Raised Red Flag in Political Corruption Probe
By Adrianna Iwasinski, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- There is new information about the timing of events surrounding the political corruption probe involving the embattled Medical Examiner's office and three state lawmakers.
The Oklahoma County District Attorney is investigating if Republican State Representatives Randy Terrill and Mike Christian conspired with Democratic State Senator Debbe Leftwich to give up her seat in exchange for a high paying job at the M.E.'s office.
The timing of events has raises the red flag and has helped explain why so many people, including the D.A., are asking questions, and why the Governor used his veto power.
The Attorney General's office functions as the law firm for the state.
"It is our duty to provide legal guidance to state agencies, board and commissions, and in that capacity we advise the Medical Examiner's office on legal issues," said Charlie Price, Attorney General Spokesperson.
Price said their agency received a call from the Medical Examiner's office last week.
On June 2, the Medical Examiner's office contacted an assistant attorney general asking some legal questions and proposed some legislation.
The questions came from outgoing Chief Administrative Officer Tom Jordan. Back on May 24, Jordan announced he was resigning to take a job in the private sector, but on June 2, he made the call asking specifically if a legislator could be hired for a newly created post laid out in Senate Bill 738 and House Bill 2486.
The bills, which were amended and passed by the State House and Senate on the last day of the legislative session, created a "transition coordinator position" at the M.E.'s office and laid out the details of how it would be paid for. In this case, it would be paid for using $90,000 from a "wire transfer fee" fund from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, a fund known all too well by Rep. Terrill, since he authored the bill that created it.
That same Friday, May 28, Sen. Leftwich made the surprise announcement that she's resigning her seat, fueling speculation that she's a possible candidate for the new post. Leftwich kept her future plans under wraps, but it was no secret that she had worked for the M.E.'s office in the past.
"We do the research, advise the agency on what we find, and them it is up to them on how to proceed how they should," Price said.
Price confirmed that on June 4, a memo was sent to Jordan and the M.E.'s office and board from the assistant attorney general assigned to the case. It stated in detail that hiring a current legislator would violate the two year rule set forth in the state constitution.
The A.G.'s office also confirmed that on June 3 they received a call from Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, requesting permission to present evidence to the multicounty grand jury, and the political corruption investigation was on.
So the question for many now is who ultimately raised concerns to the District Attorney and when?
The D.A. won't comment on the case since the investigation is underway. However, it is clear that all the lawmakers who helped pass the two bills are under scrutiny.
And while only Leftwich, Terrill, and Christian have been named, more names could surface. All three lawmakers have denied any wrongdoing.
Christian had voiced interest in the senate seat vacated by Leftwich, but he stated in a news conference this weekend that he is running for reelection to his house seat, while he tries to clear his name. Three democrats have filed to run against him.
The multicounty grand jury is set to convene July 19.
More on News9.com: