Committee is named to study wasteful spending

While the liberal media blames low taxation for the state’s budget shortfall, lawmakers are going to work on wasteful spending.

Following revelations of apparent financial mismanagement at the Oklahoma Department of Health, House of Representatives Speaker Charles McCall said he is empaneling a House Special Investigation Committee to begin conducting an investigation into the agency’s use of taxpayer dollars.

The committee will focus its investigation into the finances, state appropriations and other financial resources of the Department of Health and how they were managed. The scope of the committee’s investigation could expand to other agencies.

“The allegations at the Department of Health are very concerning, and I share the public’s frustration with the mismanagement of at least $30 million in taxpayer funds,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “The Legislature has the authority to conduct an investigation, and our members want that to begin as soon as possible. This is a very serious matter, and I would encourage those associated with these allegations to cooperate fully with our investigation.”

Article V Section 30 of the Oklahoma Constitution gives the Legislature the power to investigate governmental misconduct, and Section 7 of the House Rules empower legislative committees to “inspect and investigate the books, records, papers, documents, data, operation and physical plant of any public agency in this state.” The House Rules further authorize House committees to subpoena witnesses and compel testimony and production of evidence.

State Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette, will chair the investigation committee. McCall said Cockroft’s experience chairing the previous investigation committee makes him a strong choice to ensure a thorough investigation. State Rep. Tim Downing, R-Purcell, who previously served in the Attorney General’s Office, will serve as vice-chair of the committee.

The members of the Special Investigation Committee are as follows: Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette; Rep. Tim Downing, R-Purcell; Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Edmond; Rep. Elise Hall, R-Oklahoma City; Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore; Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville; Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City; Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid; Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond; Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond; Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola; Rep. Chuck Hoskin, D-Adair; Rep. Donnie Condit, D-McAlester; Rep. Cindi Munson, D-Oklahoma City; and Rep. Johnny Tadlock, D-Idabel.