Oklahoma Governor’s Husband Won’t Practice Before Workers’ Comp Panel

January 16, 2014

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s husband has announced that he will not work as a lawyer before the new workers’ compensation commission to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

First gentleman Wade Christensen, 59, said he will continue to represent several hundred clients whose cases are pending with the current workers’ compensation court system.

Fallin signed a bill last year to convert the current court-based system to an administrative system overseen by a three-member commission appointed by the governor.

“To avoid any type of a conflict, I’ve decided to not practice before the newly created administrative workers’ compensation commission,” Christensen said. “My No. 1 priority is to ensure that all of the work that we are doing, or might do in the future, is legal, ethical and appropriate in every regard.”

Christensen previously worked for the firm Day, Edwards, Propester & Christensen. He opened a solo practice after his wife was elected governor.

Christensen also temporarily suspended his work providing legal services for the University of Oklahoma and CompSource, the state’s workers’ compensation insurance agency, until after a determination by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission and the state’s attorney general that there was no prohibition against the governor’s spouse performing legal services for the two state entities.

Fallin said in a statement she appreciates her husband “going above and beyond both the spirit and the letter of the law to ensure his legal work does not reflect either a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.”

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