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Special legislative session announced for Carroll Fisher probe

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Gov. Brad Henry called a special session of the Legislature Tuesday so that a committee investigating Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher can complete its probe.

The regular legislative session ends May 28. The special session will enable the committee to meet beyond that date. The panel is considering whether Fisher should be impeached. Should it recommend impeachment, lawmakers would return to consider the issue.

"To ensure the impeachment investigation proceeds in a professional, timely and fair manner, I have called a special session so legislators can continue their work after the regular session concludes at the end of May," Henry said in a statement. "By calling a concurrent session, we can help minimize costs to taxpayers and allow lawmakers to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities in this manner."

On Tuesday, the committee focused its investigation into more than $30,000 worth of artwork and office furniture Fisher's office received from entities with ties to the Insurance Department. A custom-built desk and credenza valued at more than $10,000 was among the items provided to the department.

Fisher later returned the items to the companies that paid for them after the governor refused to accept them as gifts to the state.

The committee is examining numerous other allegations against Fisher, including his handling of a continuing education fund and a charity he established to buy shoes for needy children. Fisher and his assistant, Opal Ellis, are both facing felony charges related to embezzling money from the fund and operating the charity illegally.

If the committee decides to forward articles of impeachment, the full House would then vote on whether to send the articles to the Senate for an impeachment trial.
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