Government , Legal

Phone conference begins Hun-Kah Session; Edwards wants committee members investigated

It was a relatively normal beginning day for the Osage Congressional Hun-Kah Session. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear made his opening address, Speaker Joe Tillman made his legislative address, the members of Congress read in their proposed legislative bills.

What wasn’t so normal was that 10 of the 12 members of Congress called in due to COVID-19 concerns as well as Chief Standing Bear and Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn. The meeting was broadcast live on Mixlr, with technical difficulties preventing the general public from listening in real-time. However, the recording of the session has since been posted to the Congress’ website.

The congressional chambers were closed to the public with only three people inside, Tillman, Second Speaker Paula Stabler and Clerk of the Congress Shana Robedeaux. As the first day of session wound down, that’s when history was made.

Speaker Tillman announced the time for Motions and Notices. Congresswoman Angela Pratt motioned to form a Select Committee of Inquiry to investigate allegations made against Congresswoman Shannon Edwards that she violated the Constitution when she swore an oath to another tribal nation to serve as an appellate justice. Congressman Scott Bighorse seconded the motion. The formation of the committee is the first step in the possible removal of Edwards from office.

The Congress voted unanimously in favor of forming the committee, with the first “yes” vote coming from Edwards herself. Tillman said he would contact legislative counsel Loyed “Trey” Gill to move forward.

Then, Edwards made three separate motions to form select committees of inquiry on Pratt, Stabler and Congresswoman Brandy Lemon. She made numerous allegations against each congresswoman for violating the Constitution and Congressional Rules. All three women serve on the Rules and Ethics Committee, the same committee that recommended a select committee of inquiry be formed to investigate Edwards on Feb. 27.

Edwards provided dates of alleged incidents but did not go into detail of each allegation. The majority of the allegations took place in 2019. She made the most allegations against Pratt, who is the chair of the Rules and Ethics Committee.

Congress did not vote on Edwards’ motions because Robedeaux said she had not had time to review the motions and thus they were not ready for a vote “till a later time.”

The session was adjourned until 10 a.m., March 31.

The Osage News made an open records requests on March 30 for all documentation surrounding the three motions made by Edwards.

Four motions to form Select Committees of Inquiry

The first motion to form a Select Committee of Inquiry on March 30 was made by Pratt and was seconded by Bighorse. The motion passed unanimously.

First motion

“I Angela Pratt, a member of the Sixth Osage Nation Congress, hereby move to form a Select Committee of Inquiry in accordance with the rules of the Osage Nation Congress to investigate allegations made against Congresswoman Shannon Edwards an elected official of the Osage Nation Congress for actions that may warrant removal for cause and such allegations are set forth herein. Congresswoman Edwards while sitting on the Osage Nation Congress as an elected official accepted the appointed office of appellate judge in the Yavapai-Apache Nation and took an oath of office violating Article VI, Section 5, of the Osage Nation Constitution for Disqualification. Approximate date of the alleged disqualification Aug. 6, 2019, for an unknown period of time. The foregoing allegation if true constitutes grounds for removal from office for undermining the integrity of the office and disrespecting regards for her constitutional duty and her office.”

Second motion

The second, third and fourth motions on March 30 to form Select Committees of Inquiry were made by Edwards. The three motions that will go before the Congress for a vote, presumably on March 31.

“I, Shannon L. Edwards, member of the Sixth Osage Congress, move the Congress to form a Select Committee of Inquiry under Congressional Rule 12, to review the list of allegations below against Congresswoman Angela Pratt, an elected official of the Osage Nation Congress. That if true would constitute grounds for removal. 1) As an officer of the Osage Nation Congress, Congresswoman Pratt has intentionally failed to carry out her duty and responsibility under Congressional rule 7.41 C, to place ethics violations allegations against her by the Skiatook Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee on a Congressional select committee of jurisdiction agenda. 2) As an officer of the Osage Nation Congress, Congresswoman Angela Pratt has intentionally misused her office to publicly advocate for and solicit a committee recommendation that Violates Article XII of the Osage Constitution. 3) Congresswoman Angela Pratt has repeatedly engaged in conduct that violates Article X, Section 3 of the Osage Constitution, Osage Nation Ethics Laws, and Congressional Rule 4.5. These allegations if true, constitute grounds for removal from office for cause for malfeasance in office, undermining the integrity of the office, willful neglect of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, and abuse of the government process. The approximate dates of the alleged conduct are Jan. 1-30, 2019; March 29-April 23, 2019; Sept. 9-30, 2019; and February 18-27, 2020.”

Third motion

“I, Shannon L. Edwards, member of the Sixth Osage Congress, move the Congress to form a Select Committee of Inquiry under Congressional Rule 12, to review the list of allegations below it on Congresswoman Brandy Lemon, an elected official of the Osage Nation Congress. That if true would constitute grounds for removal. 1) Congresswoman Brandy Lemon has misused tribal resources in violation of Article X, Section 6 of the Osage Nation Constitution. 2) As an officer of the Osage Nation Congress, Congresswoman Brandy Lemon has publicly advocated for and moved a Congressional Select Committee to recommend a Congressional action that violates Article XII of the Osage Constitution. 3) Congresswoman Brandy Lemon has conspired to do something harmful to the members of the Osage Nation Congress in violation of Article X, Section 3 of the Osage Constitution, Osage Nation ethics laws and Congressional rule 4.5 by making false statements in a public meeting, including but not limited to falsely stating that Congresswoman Edwards purported violation of the Osage Nation Constitution is criminal in nature and suggesting that Congresswoman Edwards should be deprived of her properties without due process of law.” These allegations if true constitute grounds for removal from office for cause for malfeasance in office, undermining the integrity of the office, willful neglect of the office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power and abuse of the government process. The approximate dates of the alleged conduct are Nov. 1, 2019-Jan. 30, 2020; Feb. 18-27, 2020.”

Fourth motion

“I, Shannon L. Edwards, member of the Sixth Osage Congress, move the Congress to form a Select Committee of Inquiry under Congressional Rule 12, to review the list of allegations below against Congresswoman Paula Stabler, an elected official of the Osage Nation Congress. That if true would constitute grounds for removal. 1) Congresswoman Paula Stabler has misused tribal resources in violation of Article X, Section 6, of the Osage Nation Constitution. 2) As an official of the Osage Nation Congress, Congresswoman Paula Stabler has intentionally failed to carry out her duty and responsibility under Congressional rule 2 to place allegations of unlawful, hostile work environment on the Osage Congressional select committee of jurisdiction agenda. 3) As an officer of the Osage Nation Congress, Congresswoman Paula Stabler has intentionally misused her office to publicly advocate for a committee recommendation that violates Article XII of the Osage Constitution. These allegations if true constitute grounds for removal from office, for cause, for malfeasance in office, undermining the integrity of the office, willful neglect of the office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of powers and abuse of the government process. The days of the alleged conduct are Nov. 19, 2019; Dec. 13, 2019; Jan. 1, 2019 to date; March 29-April 23, 2019; Sept. 9-30, 2019; Feb. 18-27, 2020.”