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Former Oklahoma state senate leader will get his law license reinstated

Former Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan speaks at a 2007 press conference
Oklahoma Legislative Service Bureau
Former Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan speaks at a 2007 press conference

A former Oklahoma state lawmaker who was convicted in 2012 for taking a $12,000 bribe in exchange for his influence on legislation will get his law license reinstated.

By a vote of 5 to 3, the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed to reinstate the law license of former Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan.

Those who voted in favor of the former state Senate leader’s reinstatement to the Oklahoma Bar Association found he had complied with necessary requirements, had not practiced law since his resignation, had continued his learning required for reinstatement and had “made a considerable effort to rehabilitate himself and the image of the legal profession.”

Those in dissent say Morgan’s conviction became “significant public discourse” that reflected poorly on Oklahoma and the Bar - and that his reinstatement would “signal to the public” the Oklahoma Supreme Court “takes lightly incidents of public corruption.”

Morgan was eligible for applying for license reinstatement in 2018, but finally did so in September 2020. After applying, a Professional Responsibility Tribunal panel held a hearing on Morgan’s application in April 2021.

The panel found Morgan had taken nearly 150 hours of continuing legal training - including 13 and a half hours of ethics - and that his effort to be reinstated was supported by “a wide array of people who have known him for decades.” The panel voted unanimously in July 2021 to recommend Morgan’s reinstatement.

Morgan was first sentenced in 2013 to five years probation for bribery, but a federal appeals court ordered a resentencing. The court called his initial sentence a “little more than a slap on the wrist.”

In 2016, he was resentenced to 18 months in federal prison. Morgan claims he never sold his seat, and had been providing legal services only.

Kateleigh Mills was the Special Projects reporter for KOSU from 2019 to 2024.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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