After walking out of the organizational meeting of the House Rules Committee, Rep. David Perryman (D-Chickasha), responded formally to Chairman Josh Cockroft in an open letter. Here is the text of that protest letter and alternative proposal...
I am extremely disappointed in decisions that you have made regarding the special investigation requested by Speaker Charles McCall. Speaker McCall has pledged transparency and accountability during his leadership. Likewise, you stated last week that you had “complete confidence in this committee and that truth, due process, and the integrity of this body will prevail.” Unfortunately, your actions over the past few days do not indicate sincerity in that regard.
Rep. David Perryman
You have informed committee members that they:
Consequently, instead of making the confidential expenditure of public funds and the facts and circumstances this investigation more transparent, the Confidentiality Agreement and the Rules of Procedure that you have proposed actually provides you and your caucus with a vehicle to conceal information to which the public is entitled, reduce access to public information and allow the entire situation to be whitewashed.
In addition, your gag order prohibits dissenting members of the committee from announcing their conclusions and even from publicizing the fact that they dissent from the version of the facts that you wish to make public. The process that you propose is not compatible with a free and open government.
I will not sign the Confidentiality Agreement until:
Chairman Cockroft, the investigation should have a non-political, non-partisan goal. It would be my hope that you would be willing to chair this committee in a fair and non-partisan manner.
The investigation of the actions of the two legislators that you have named is only part of the charge given to this committee. The Speaker did not limit the investigation to one, two, three, four or more legislators. It was the charge of the Speaker to investigate all members who have been the subject of allegations and to investigate the use of public funds, including the process and procedure by which the public tax dollars in question were used.
Frankly, the investigation of the use of public funds may well be the most important part of this committee’s work. The constituent contacts that I have received over the past several days have been much more focused on how and why public funds were used in the manner that they were expended and why a portion of them were paid out of a cleaning or janitorial account. There is very little that should be considered “confidential” in that portion of the investigation.
In summary, the State of Oklahoma would be best served if the Speaker had established a non-partisan special committee made up an equal number of republicans and democrats who are not members of the legislature or employees of the state, however, in the absence of a non-partisan, non-legislative committee, the underlying goal of the committee should be to:
1. Eliminate the use of public funds to settle claims against members of the House of Representatives;
2. Develop a fair and non-partisan procedure for handling allegations of misconduct against members of the House of Representative that:
4. Report the findings of the members of the Committee to the Legislature and to the Public.
Please reverse your prior mandates and allow the Rules to be debated openly and publicly prior to closing the proceedings to the public and to committee members who choose not to sign the proposed Confidentiality Agreement.
I look forward to seeing you at 10:00 a.m. in Room 252. If you would like to speak with me earlier, you have my cell number.
Thank you for your consideration.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...