Government , Legal

Rules and Ethics Committee amends motion to remove Edwards from Congress

Photo caption: The Congressional Rules and Ethics Committee meetings on Feb. 25. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

The Congressional Rules and Ethics Committee met again on Feb. 27, this time to clean up some language.

On Feb. 25, the committee made a historic motion that would begin the removal process for Congresswoman Shannon Edwards, who has served on the Osage Nation Congress since 2006. However, the way the motion was worded left out a mandated action – due process. According to the Osage Nation Constitution, a trial must be afforded to the accused. The committee’s original motion made on Feb. 25 called for the Congress to wave the rules of procedure for removal and move straight to a vote on a motion for removal.

After the Osage News published an article in its February 2020 edition about the swearing-in of Edwards as the Yavapai-Apache’s new appellate justice, allegations began to arise on social media that she disqualified herself to serve as a member of the Congress by taking the judgeship. The News obtained the article about her swearing-in after Edwards sent a copy to the Osage News’ Editorial Board on Jan. 24.

Second Speaker Paula Stabler said she wished the committee had taken more time before making the Feb. 25 motion.

“On Tuesday, I mentioned that I wish we could wait a couple of days and get our rules, paperwork together and stuff and now after two days we’ve decided we need to make an amendment to that resolution to afford due process,” Stabler said.

According to the Osage Nation Constitution, Article XII, under Removal, it states: “… Trial on removal shall then be conducted by the Osage Nation Congress with the accused afforded due process and an opportunity to be heard …”

Congresswoman Brandy Lemon made the amended motion.

“I move to amend the recommendation of this committee to state: the Rules, Ethics and Engrossment committee recommends the Osage Nation Congress initiate the removal of Congresswoman Edwards from office for disqualification under the constitution.”

Lemon and Stabler voted yes for the amended motion. Congresswoman Angela Pratt was absent.

If the Congress votes to have a special session with the purpose of removing Edwards, the Osage Nation Supreme Court will appoint a justice to preside over the trial.

The ON Supreme Court is currently made up of Chief Justice Meredith Drent, Associate Justice Elizabeth Lohah Homer and Associate Justice Drew Pierce.

Edwards filed her candidacy for the 2020 Osage Nation General Election on Feb. 28.