Democrats calling for immediate investigation into Oklahoma governor’s conduct

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A surgeon accused of botching operations and paralyzing patients has now become an issue for Oklahoma’s governor.

Oklahoma’s Democratic Party is calling for an investigation.

They said Governor Mary Fallin may have interfered in the investigation and discipline of the spinal surgeon at the request of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

This all began with an investigative report by the website Frontier and the Dallas Morning News.

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

The investigation centered around Dr. Steven Anagnost, a Tulsa spinal surgeon who was being investigated by the Oklahoma State Medical Board.

The recently published article by the Tulsa investigative news website alleges that Fallin got a call from Perry asking her to help make the investigation go away.

Anagnost was reportedly a Perry donor.

A memo from the medical board about the case said that Fallin’s legal counsel paid them a visit.

“The memos say specifically that he brought up Governor Perry and brought up Governor Fallin and claimed that Governor Fallin wanted to satisfy Governor Perry," Hammons said. "She was tired of getting phone calls from him."

Shortly after that conversation, the case against Anagnost was dropped and a settlement was reached with the medical board.

The doctor was able to keep his license and did not have to admit to any wrongdoing.

Fallin’s spokesperson, Alex Weintz, said the governor simply asked the board to do their job.

“We received calls from a lot of people. One of them was Rick Perry. And, he was voicing these same concerns," Weintz said. "We’ve got an investigation that’s going on for years and years and years. Why is that happening?"

Weintz said the case had stretched on for three years with no resolution and Fallin thought it needed to be 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 and he’s hurting patients, sanction him. If you don’t, it’s time for the investigation to come to an end,'” Weintz said.

Hammons said he would like to see an independent investigation conducted by the Oklahoma County district attorney, a grand jury or possibly a federal official.

He said the Democratic Party would also be proposing new ethics rules to address situations like this one.

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