Okla. House Approves Impeachment Panel

April 1, 2004

The Oklahoma Legislation House of Representatives decided by a vote of 84 – 12 to empanel a special investigating committee to consider articles of impeachment against State Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher.

According to the House Media Services Division, lawmakers approved House Resolution 1040 by Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Fred Morgan, R-Oklahoma City, which authorizes House Speaker Larry E. Adair to appoint an ad hoc committee “to conduct a comprehensive and detailed study and investigation of the activities” of Fisher.

Fisher, a Democrat, is serving his second four-year term. HR 1040 alleges that the controversial insurance commissioner has amassed a committed many illegal and unethical acts during his tenure.

Fisher is currently facing criminal proceedings related to charges of embezzling funds and operating a charity illegally.

Some House members argued that legislators are ‘jumping the gun’ by considering impeachment. Rep. Darrell Gilbert, D-Tulsa, maintained that if Fisher is convicted he will be removed from office, and that the case should first be resolved in court.

The size and political composition of the investigating committee has not been determined. Speaker Adair appointed Rep. Opio Toure, D-Oklahoma City, chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, to be chairman of the ad hoc panel. Toure refrained from voting on HR 1040 in anticipation that he might have a direct role in the investigation.

If articles of impeachment are preferred, the state Senate will try the case.

The Oklahoma House last considered impeachment of a state official, then-Gov. David Walters, in 1993-94.

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