House Investigation Committee Pulls Back Subpoenas

The chair of the House Special Investigation Committee Friday said all three state officials subpoenaed Thursday have responded and agreed to voluntarily meet with the committee.

Rep. Josh Cockroft said the committee is looking forward to working with those individuals to help lawmakers determine how the apparent financial mismanagement at the Oklahoma Department of Health occurred. The committee issued subpoenas to Preston Doerflinger, acting director of the Department of Health, Denise Northrup, acting director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, and Chris Benge, chief of staff for Gov. Mary Fallin.

In addition, Cockroft said the committee is reaching out to representatives for former Commissioner of Health Terry Cline and former Deputy Commissioner of Health Julie Cox-Kain to determine their willingness to cooperate with the committee.

“We received a response from all three individuals, and each of them offered to help us expedite the process,” said Cockroft. “They assured us there is no need for a subpoena and they are each willing to appear before the committee to provide answers to our questions as early as the end of next week. In exchange for their voluntary cooperation, the committee is withdrawing its subpoena at this time. We are thankful for their willingness to appear by invitation, and I hope that others are willing to cooperate as well. Our belief is by starting with these three individuals we will get a broad understanding of how the agencies communicate with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services  and the Governor’s Office regarding the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. With this overview,  we can then move forward with specific inquiries into the financial mismanagement at the Department of Health, and other agencies as needed.”

Governor Fallin said her Administration is looking for the same answers as the House Special Investigation Committee and appreciates the withdrawal of the subpoena on Benge.

“My office wants full transparency on what caused the serious financial issues at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. On October 30, I brought together the fiscal staff of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the state attorney general’s office and the office of the state auditor and inspector to look into the matter to immediately investigate and bring forth clarity to the situation, and offer solutions to ensure proper fiscal management of the Department of Health. Legislative leaders have been briefed about the situation,” said Fallin in a statement.

“All officials in the executive branch and agencies are happy to voluntarily assist the Oklahoma House Special Committee. It is also important that the House committee confers with the attorney general and the state auditor and inspector who have already begun looking into the Health Department 30 days ago.

“I am pleased this matter could be resolved professionally and amicably. This will bring all of us to focus and exert our energy and attention on developing a long-term, predictable solution to fix our budget, fund core services, and provide a teacher pay raise,”  Fallin said.

Cockroft hopes the committee can meet with those individuals as early as this week.

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  1. Tom, 04 December, 2017

    Governor Fallin, please resign and then we can get on with the business of governing with transparency and “developing a long term, predictable solution to fix our budget,” etc.

  2. Jimbo, 07 December, 2017

    OPPS looks like the fix is in . Lets all play like we care about this.


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