Thursday, December 14, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – The testimony of State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones today before the House of Representatives Special Investigation Committee confirms earlier statements made to the panel by Governor Mary Fallin’s chief of staff, Chris Benge, on when the governor was actually provided information on the serious financial issues at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
“I believe the record now clearly reflects what I told committee Chairman Josh Cockroft is accurate on the timeline,” said Benge. “No evidence has been presented of a text string before September 25 between the governor and Auditor Jones relating to the Health Department, as was asserted in the chairman’s questions to me on Monday. It is important for this process that questions are not asked with inaccurate assertions.
“Also, the chairman’s unsubstantiated implication that the governor’s special session call for September 25 had any purpose other than what was clearly identified in the call is not helpful to tackling the continuing structural budget problems on finding revenue to pay for a needed teacher pay raise,” he said.
Benge said the governor is committed to working with the Legislature and the Special Investigation Committee on finding what occurred at the Health Department, and to make changes to prevent similar problems in the future.