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Oklahoma Democrats Call For Investigation Into Fallin-Perry Conversation About Troubled Surgeon

Michael Vadon / Wikimedia Commons
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City in May.

A report in The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday raised questions about whether Gov. Mary Fallin and then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry improperly colluded in 2013 to pressure the Oklahoma Board of Medical Examiners to drop an investigation into a spinal surgeon accused of bungling operations.

Oklahoma Democrats are now asking for an investigation since Perry had political ties to Dr. Steven Anagnost.

In a memo obtained by investigative news site The Frontier, Fallin’s general counsel Steve Mullins is said to have told the board Fallin didn’t want any more calls from Perry about the investigation into the Tulsa doctor.

Soon after, the investigation ended, and Anagnost kept his license.

“It is unacceptable for the governor to be involved in backroom deals affecting how and when doctors, or any other professional, may be disciplined,” said Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Mark Hammons.

Hammons called for an independent investigation to determine if any laws were broken, and said the Democratic Party will propose amendments to state ethics rules.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz told reporters Fallin just wanted the case resolved.

“What the governor said to the board through her legal counsel was, ‘Do your job.’ If you think this man is a bad actor, sanction him,” Weintz said. “If you don’t, it’s time for the investigation to come to an end.”

The investigation had been going on for three years at the time.

Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma.
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