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Oklahoma House Speaker Weighs In on Political Corruption Investigation

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House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Speaker of the State House, Chris Benge, is weighing in on a political scandal probe involving the embattled Medical Examiner's office and three state lawmakers.

Benge said he doesn't believe lawmakers did anything wrong and said the legislation that would have created a "transition coordinator position" at the M.E.'s office was designed only to improve the Medical Examiner's office.

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 the high paying job at the M.E.'s office.

"Throughout the legislative process, many different people have input and ideas with regard to specific legislation. This was the case with SB 738, which is a normal part of the process. As outlined in the bill, the hiring decision for the position of Transition Coordinator would have been a personnel issue that rested with the chief administrator and the board," Benge said in a statement Wednesday

Benge said he hopes the next legislature will head in the same direction to improve the agency.

NEWS 9 also asked Benge who authored or introduced the amendment to SB738, which created the interim position of Transition Coordinator at the Medical Examiner's office, and who requested the position be created and what was their justification?

Benge received the questions early Wednesday afternoon but refused to comment.

NEWS 9 also tried to ask Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee the same questions, but Coffee was unavailable for comment.

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