Oklahoma’s Adair Selects Fisher Investigation Committee

April 5, 2004

Larry E. Adair, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, announced the names of the special investigative committee charged with considering articles of impeachment against state Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher, as directed under the recently adopted House Resolution 1040.

Adair named Rep. Opio Toure, D-Oklahoma City, chairman of the committee. The Speaker also appointed Reps. Frank Davis, R-Guthrie; Larry Ferguson, R-Cleveland; John Nance, R-Bethany; Ray McCarter, D-Marlow; Larry D. Roberts, D-Miami; Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo; and Majority Floor Leader Larry Rice, D-Pryor.

“It was important to have the selection process completed in a timely manner, following the passage of the resolution,” Adair said. “We have commissioned a group of well respected members from both sides of the aisle, who will approach their task with the highest level of unbiased professionalism.”

Adair noted the members of the committee combined have more than a century of legislative experience.

He commented that the authors of the resolution were left off the committee in order to avoid a conflict of interest. “The fact that the two authored the measure and their comments during debate indicate they have strong feelings towards one side of the issue,” Adair said.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of these members to the committee,” Toure said. “We have been assigned a difficult and complicated job that will require dedication and attention to detail.”

The committee will convene for the first time on April 5, at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will focus on the process and procedures to be used by the committee to meet the requirements outlined in the resolution. HR 1040 directs the committee to “conduct a comprehensive and detailed study and investigation of the activities”of Fisher, and outlines the scope of the investigation.

HR 1040 directs the committee to investigate several questionable activities by Fisher:

•Fisher was charged with embezzling money raised in connection with an insurance education program and with operating a charity illegally.

•The state Ethics Commission reprimanded Fisher for violating ethics rules during his reelection campaign in 2002. He used his position during the campaign to obtain confidential employment applications and documents of his opponent from Farmers Insurance Group.

•Fisher solicited and accepted gifts, in the form of artwork and furniture, totaling more than $30,000 in value from entities regulated by the Insurance Department violating his oath of office to not “…knowingly receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or nonperformance of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law…”

•Fisher distributed thousands of “Friends of Fisher” stickers to medical professionals along with instructions to affix them to insurance claim submissions or problem claim correspondence to obtain faster claims processing service.

•Fisher wrote a check for over $35,000 to a Florida attorney for “attorney fees and expenses” from the account of an insurance company that was forced into conservatorship by the Insurance Commissioner. The check was written two weeks after Fisher and the Florida attorney attended the Super Bowl together in New Orleans.

“Impeachment is not a step to be taken lightly. The balance of a man’s career and reputation are on trial for the entire state to witness. I ask that everyone involved, including House members, staff members, members of the press and the public, respect this process and allow the committee to complete a fair and unbiased investigation,” Adair concluded.

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