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Oklahoma Democrats Launch Ethics Probe Into Fallin’s Travel Expenses, Daughter, And Rick Perry

Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman Mark Hammons during a Thursday press conference.
Jacob McCleland
Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman Mark Hammons during a Thursday press conference.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint Thursday against Gov. Mary Fallin over three separate issues.

The complaint alleges the governor used private and public funds to cover an undisclosed expenses for a Paris trip with her spouse, Wade Christensen. In addition, it alleges the governor’s daughter received personal gain when she moved her trailer home onto the governor’s mansion property.

“This is the use of taxpayer property,” party chairman Mark Hammons said. “The mansion doesn’t belong to Gov. Fallin. It belongs to the people of this state.”

In the third complaint, Hammons says the governor misused her authority when she allegedly intervened in a Medical Examiners Board adjudication at the behest of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“The governor said that she didn’t really intervene. She just wanted the board to do its job,” Hammons said. “But you know what? If you want the board to do its job, you pick up the phone. You don’t send your legal staff down for a closed door meeting with the board.”

In written statement, the governor’s office called the complaint a “baseless, partisan stunt” and said none of these are ethical lapses of any kind.

“The Ethics Commission is a serious government entity that plays an important role in ensuring elected officials do not abuse the positions they have been given by taxpayers,” spokesman Alex Weintz said. “It is disappointing to see the Commission dragged into a partisan sideshow and treated as a political football.”

Weintz also said the Oklahoma Business Roundtable has paid for the governor’s travel expenses on economic development trips for the past quarter century, and that Christina Fallin is allowed to live at the governor’s residence like any member of her family.

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Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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