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Speaker wants special panel to investigate health department

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Posted at 11:34 AM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 12:34:39-05

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- House Speaker Charles McCall says he is forming a special investigative committee to look into financial mismanagement at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The 15-member committee is expected to begin its work next week.

The Legislature has the power to investigate governmental misconduct, and House rules authorize committees to subpoena witnesses and compel testimony.

State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones also is conducting an audit on the agency's finances.

The agency's new temporary commissioner, Preston Doerflinger, says the department suffered from financial mismanagement for more than five years and needs an immediate infusion of $30 million this year just to make payroll.

Doerflinger says health department officials for years improperly borrowed money across funds and spent money on new programs that should have been used to restore previous expenditures.

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