Government , Legal

Motions to investigate Congresswomen Pratt, Lemon and Stabler fail

Caption: Motions to form Select Committees of Inquiry on the Rules and Ethics Committee members failed in Congress on April 1, 2020. Pictured from left: Congresswomen Paula Stabler, Angela Pratt and Brandy Lemon on Feb. 25, 2020, considering whether to investigate allegations made against Congresswoman Shannon Edwards on Feb. 25. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

It may be April Fool’s Day, but there were no pranks being played on Day 3 of the Hun-Kah Session.

Congresswoman Shannon Edwards made three motions to form Select Committees of Inquiry to investigate allegations she made against Congresswomen Angela Pratt, Paula Stabler and Brandy Lemon. All three motions failed.

Pratt, Stabler and Lemon also make up the Congressional Rules and Ethics Committee. That committee recommended on Feb. 27 that Edwards be investigated for allegedly violating the Constitution when she swore an oath to another tribal nation to serve as an appellate judge. Pratt’s motion to form a Select Committee of Inquiry to investigate Edwards passed unanimously on March 30.

Select Committee of Inquiry

According to Congressional Rule 12.1, under Removal, after the majority of Congress votes to form a Select Committee of Inquiry the Speaker shall notify the Judicial branch in writing.

A Justice of the Supreme Court will appoint five members of Congress to serve on the committee. According to the rule, the appointments will be made within 10 days of the passage of the motion. A committee could be formed by April 9. Pratt will be ineligible to serve on the committee since she made the motion for the investigation of Edwards.

All proceedings of the Select Committee of Inquiry will be held in executive session and all proceedings considered confidential.

Once the committee is formed, they will conduct an investigation limited only to the allegations made against Edwards. The committee can only meet during a Congressional session. The committee can gather evidence, interview witnesses and subpoena documentation. Edwards can also be present with her legal counsel.

After the investigation is finished the committee will then submit their findings and recommendations to Congress as a whole. Congress will then determine whether there is sufficient grounds to consider a removal trial for Edwards, which will take 8 affirmative votes.

If the Congress votes for a removal trial, the removal trial will be public.

Response

The Osage News reached out to the four Congresswomen for their response to the day’s events.

Pratt said she did not have a comment at this time but would make a statement at a later date.

Lemon: “Thank you for reaching out and keeping our people abreast of ongoing business. I have no comment at this time; however, I intend to respond to the matter with a statement at a later undecided date.”

Stabler: “I will only respond to the motion made toward me. I hate that with all that is going on in this world, we are going through this right now. We should be working together, and I appreciate the support from my colleagues for seeing the motion against me for what it was.”

Edwards: "That three Congresswomen would hatch a secret plan during election season and use their positions to act unlawfully and publicly malign other members running for re-election is unprecedented. In my opinion, there was no reason for any member to vote against any of the motions.

"It is unfortunate the Rules and Ethics Committee members have rejected an investigation of allegations against all Congress members equally. Instead, they voted to try to keep their actions secret. In time the truth will come out, and they will be given the due process protections they denied me." 

Failed motions

Below are the three motions Edwards made against Pratt, Stabler and Lemon. Edwards added language to all three motions that was not included on March 30. She alleged Pratt repeatedly engaged in racial discrimination against members of Congress and Congressional staff. She alleged that Stabler allowed charges on the Congressional credit card that she shouldn’t have, and she alleged Lemon purchased goods and services in the Congress’ name and did not reimburse the Nation for the purchases.

First motion:

“I, Shannon Edwards, member of the Sixth Osage Nation Congress, move the Congress to form a Select Committee of Inquiry under Congressional Rule 12, via the list of allegations below against Congresswoman Angela Pratt, an elected official of the Osage Congress that if true would constitute grounds for removal. 1) As an officer of the Osage Nation Congress has intentionally failed to carry out her duty and responsibility under Congressional rule 7.14 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 and the inalienable rights of all Osage citizens that may be subject to removal trial. 3) Congresswoman Angela Pratt has repeatedly engaged in racial discrimination under her apparent authority against Osage officials and congressional staff that violates Article X, Section 3 of the Osage Nation 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.”  

The motion was seconded by Congressman Archie Mason.

Voting Yes: Mason, Potts, Whitehorn, Edwards
Voting No: Goodfox, Lemon, Maker, Pratt (voted in Osage by saying “HunKah Zhi^”), Stabler, Walker, Bighorse, Tillman

Motion Fails.

Second 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 by causing disallowed charges to be made and paid for on behalf of Congress in blatant contravention of Congressional policy established to prevent such wrongdoing. 2) As an officer 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 an unlawful, hostile work environment on the select committee of jurisdiction agenda. 3) As an officer of the Osage Nation Congress, Congresswoman Paula Stabler has intentionally used her office to publicly advocate for a committee recommendation that violates Article XII of the Osage Constitution and the inalienable rights of all citizens and be subject to a removal trial. 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 powers and abuse of the government process. The days of the alleged conduct are August-September 2019; Nov. 19, 2019; Dec. 13, 2019; Jan. 1, 2019 to date; March 29-April 23, 2019; Sept. 9-30, 2019; Feb. 18-27, 2020.”

The motion was seconded by Congressman Archie Mason.

Voting Yes: Mason, Potts, Whitehorn, Edwards
Voting No: Goodfox, Lemon, Maker, Pratt, Stabler, Walker, Bighorse, Tillman
Motion Fails.

Third Motion:

“I, Shannon Edwards, member of the Sixth Osage Congress, move the Congress to form a Select Committee of Inquiry under Constitutional [sic] Rule 12, to review the list of allegations below against 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 by causing the Osage Nation Congress to purchase goods and services in her name then neither using those goods and services nor reimbursing the Osage Nation for them. 2) As an officer of the Osage Nation Congress, Congresswoman Brandy Lemon has publicly advocated for and moved a Congressional Select Committee to recommend Congressional action that violates Article XII of the Osage Constitution and the inalienable rights of all Osage citizens who may be subject to a removal trial. 3) Congresswoman Brandy Lemon has conspired to do something harmful to members of the Osage 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 asserting that Congresswoman Edwards should be deprived of her property 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 Sept. 25, 2019; Nov. 3, 2019-Jan. 30, 2020; Feb. 18-27, 2020.”

The motion was seconded by Congressman Archie Mason.

Voting Yes: Mason, Potts, Whitehorn, Edwards
Voting No: Goodfox, Maker, Pratt, Stabler, Walker, Bighorse, Tillman
Abstain: Lemon 

Motion Fails.