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Republican infighting leads to allegations of misconduct

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State Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore)
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Things got a little contentious at the
Capitol this past week when two members of the House of Representatives – Rep.
Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City) and Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) were publicly
reprimanded on the House floor this past Monday.

Reynolds was reprimanded for interrupting a minister who was
giving a sermon on healthy living last week. 
According to The Oklahoman, Reynolds
thought the sermon was a method of lobbying since the minister promotes healthy
lifestyles for a living.

But it was Terrill’s reprimand and his attempted response
that have more folks in and outside the Capitol wondering what Terrill had
wanted to say publicly.

As The Oklahoman
noted earlier this week: “Terrill, in speaking against the reprimand, asked why
previous transgressions went unnoticed. He also said the reprimand was an
attempt by Speaker Kris Steele (R-Shawnee), to ‘bully, harass, intimidate and
threaten the conservative members in the caucus into go along with their
moderate to liberal agenda.’”

In hopes of elaborating further, Terrill appeared as a guest
on the Scott Mitchell Show on the
Radio Oklahoma Network  Saturday morning and
discussed the reprimand and how he did not have a chance to defend himself and
ask questions on the House floor.

As Terrill puts it, he did not violate House rules –
something he says other House members do regularly – but leadership created some
vague allegation of him having “embarrassed the House.”

It started innocently enough, with Terrill talking about
filing Senate author slips. Terrill said he knew the staffer and that he felt
comfortable talking to her.

While talking with her he joked a little about Kris Steele.

“Let’s just say they were embellished comments about Steele’s
lacking in political and social acumen,” Terrill said. “They were certainly
personal in nature. I don’t dispute that.”

Terrill suspects somebody else overheard it. The staffer was
forced to make a statement he said, although she has largely recanted. It is
said she was threatened with her job if she didn’t make a statement about the
conversation.

“She feels badly about the whole thing,” he said.

“Again, I don’t
dispute there were some personally disparaging remarks,” Terrill said. “(Steele)
doesn’t like me and I don’t care for him too much.”

After the incident came to light to Sullivan and Steele a
decision was made to reprimand Terrill, a punishment Terrill finds wholly
ironic in light of some of the actual bad behavior taking place at the Capitol.

And the name Dan Sullivan comes up a lot. This is the same
man who said in the media that Terrill metaphorically “vomited on” his staff
with foul language.

So when it came time for the reprimand, Terrill wanted to
respond to it. Just as he was getting to the drinking and sex part, he told Red Dirt Report “that they cut my mic
and wouldn’t let me tell it.”

“But this is a matter of common knowledge at the Capitol,”
Terrill said. “Perhaps some of the freshmen don’t know it. Kris Steele chose to
ignore it.”

“Something like this is very sexy and sensational,” Terrill
told Red Dirt Report. “It will strike
awfully high up the food chain in the House Republican leadership. And Sullivan
has always been one of the ‘golden boys,’ loved by the chamber, big business
and focusing on tort and workers’ comp issues. This is what put him out front
as their golden boy.”

During Saturday’s radio interview, Mitchell noted how
Terrill was going to talk about “reprehensible conduct” taking place at the
Capitol involving House members, issues involving House members having sex with
staffers and House members working on the House floor while drinking vodka and impaired
voting.

“More than half-a-dozen members partake of a drink in late night
sessions. Some have come back impaired after a late dinner – something that is
specifically prohibited by House rules. Those found guilty of habitual
drunkenness can be impeached,” noted Terrill.

Continued Terrill on the Scott
Mitchell Show
: “How about House members? Our majority floor leader Dan
Sullivan who had sex, an extra-marital affair with his chief judiciary staffer,
his chief attorney when he was chair of the judiciary committee before he
became the majority floor leader and then subsequently arranged for her to have
a job, ultimately on the state payroll regulating insurance companies.”

Terrill would later confirm with Red Dirt Report that the staffer who allegedly benefitted was a
Tulsa attorney named Melanie Pouncey.

Pouncey, explained Terrill, was chief legal counsel to the
judiciary committee when Sullivan was chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Dan Sullivan set her up with a job at the Tulsa Chamber of
Commerce. Then he cut a deal with (former Insurance Commissioner) Kim Holland,
which explains why Sullivan was one of three Republicans to endorse Holland
over Doak,” said Terrill.

Terrill said Sullivan then moved off the Judiciary Committee
and became chair of the Economic Development Committee, all the while he was
allegedly having the affair.

Dan Sullivan and Janet Sullivan have since divorced and he
is now reportedly married to Pouncey.

And after the House leadership caught wind of Sullivan’s
behavior, then-Speaker Chris Benge made sure that fraternization with a staff member
was a big no-no. So, technically, Sullivan didn’t break any rules and the story
was never picked up by the media.

Meanwhile, Pouncey is over at the Insurance Department,
Terrill tells Red Dirt Report, and says,
“Part of her responsibility was overlooking PLICO (Physicians Liability Insurance
Company of Oklahoma).”

Terrill said that Sullivan is cozy with PLICO and that the
legislator “ran the PLICO bailout bill in 2005.”

At the time, Sullivan was quoted as saying, “A healthy PLICO
is good for Oklahoma. Without the liability coverage this company provides, we
could see a mass exodus of doctors from Oklahoma.”

Terrill even says Sullivan was PLICO’s “private counsel”
after he left his law firm for a time. A little while later, Sullivan was revealed to have had some "tax problems," an issue highlighted in a January 2008 article in the Tulsa World.

Sullivan and others have been big supporters of the
tort-reform bill Speaker Steele proposed that came through the House and was
voted down at first, before the “flip-flopping 27” came forth and voted in favor
of the hard caps it proposed – hard caps desired by the State Chamber of
Commerce and the medical lobbyists.

What is notable, Terrill points out, is how Sullivan – an attorney
with Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green – practices medical
malpractice defense, among other things. The stuff PLICO does is right up their
alley.

 Also, it is notable
that Terrill notes, via reliable sources,  how PLICO was and may still be a client of the
law firm Sullivan works for.

This feud between the liberty-minded, conservative wing of the
Republican Party (Terrill, Reynolds and others) and the business-friendly,
status-quo wing of the Republican Party (Steele, Sullivan, others) has been
growing since just after the November election.

Terrill says that Sullivan is conducting Steele’s dirty work
in the House and that Sullivan is still mad about the December Republican
Caucus meeting in Bartlesville where Terrill claims Sullivan “stood up and took
a shot at me.”

Terrill says he shot back. 
“I outed him in a clear way that he had an extramarital affair,” recalls
Terrill.

The “battle at Bartlesville,” where the items on the Speakers’
agenda were largely dismissed, was a disaster for the establishment Republicans,
he said, noting that Steele even wanted to exclude the phrase “Judeo-Christian”
at one point, in the values part of the agenda.

“It was halfway through the meeting,” Terrill said. “And Steele
made the motion himself to move (the Judeo-Christian reference) out which is
very unusual. He said it wasn’t inclusive and tolerant and the business people
didn’t like it. They said it made Oklahoma look bad.”

 “The conservatives
prevailed on the points they wanted in the agenda, much to the chagrin of
Steele,” Terrill said.

 “We’re out front
conservative guys,” Terrill said. “We’re not doing this alone. There are
others. But the issue is you have a group of very conservative people and we
want both fair and equitable treatment under the rules. They want to make
Reynolds and I the whipping boys for essentially what  is failed leadership.”

Terrill said that while Steele has proven to be a “pretty
politically savvy guy, at least enough to get elected” and featuring an “aw shucks
ministerial persona,” he says the Shawnee Republican is in fact “insecure,
hypersensitive and paranoid” and not particularly good at “legislative stuff.”

He has few good things to say about Sullivan either.

“(Sullivan) has not
received the examination and scrutiny and public criticism that I have
received,” Terrill said.

Continuing, Terrill said, “this (reprimand) was an attempt
by them to bully and harass us – sending the message to the freshmen to ‘don’t
be like those boys.’ Go along to get along is the message and you shouldn’t be
conservative and confrontational and bold as these guys are.”

Copyright 2011 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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