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Congressional committee authorizes spending for public hearing resources

Associated costs include a court reporter, document costs and process service, if needed

Preparation efforts are underway for the Feb. 7-8 public hearings planned for the Osage Nation Congressional Commerce, Gaming and Land Committee investigation focused on Osage Casinos management expenses.

On Jan. 18, the Congressional Affairs Committee voted to authorize Congressional legal counsel Loyed “Trey” Gill to obtain services including a court reporter, document costs and process service (if needed) for the commerce committee hearings.

The focus of the public hearings will be to investigate Gaming Enterprise Board employee expense policies and the approval of the expenses of the casino executive officers per a revised commerce committee motion calling for the hearing. Congressman and commerce committee member Billy Keene made a revised motion calling for the public hearing on Dec. 28, which received committee approval.

Several individuals who are gaming officials and those who previously served in gaming official capacities are listed to appear before the commerce committee, according to public meeting notices.

Congresswoman and CA committee Chair Pam Shaw called on Gill to discuss the forthcoming hearing expenses with the committee, which includes Congress members Paula Stabler, Jodie Revard, Whitney Red Corn and Eli Potts.

“The (commerce) committee is holding their hearings Feb. 7-9 and they will need some additional resources for that hearing and this committee is the committee that authorizes those,” Gill said. “I don’t have a specific (cost) number for you and am not able to give you a specific number, but we anticipate having a court reporter here and they charge by the page, it depends on how long the hearing goes and how many witnesses we have as to what those charges will be – I do expect this to be several thousand dollars if you include everything.”

Gill requested a motion from the committee to authorize seeking those resources including a court reporter, potential process server, copies and scanning charges and formatting and organizing charges for documents.

Shaw said she checked with Congressional budget analyst Jordan Fraser to see if the Legislative Branch has funds available in its respective branch budget to cover the costs, which he confirmed. She told the committee the billing charges will come to the CA committee for payment approvals since they will be over the Second Speaker’s spending threshold.

Stabler asked if a sum-certain amount would be needed in the motion. Gill said he only needed an authorization motion to move forward, adding “I can give you a brief idea – I would imagine a court reporter would be, I’m going to say $3,500 to $5,000 if every witness showed up and we meet all day every day. Process server, we don’t know if we’ll need yet … Right now, a process server is about $125, about $150 per service, so we’re talking a few hundred dollars there. Copying, scanning charges so far have been able to be covered by the Second Speaker because they’ve been less than $1,000 on each occasion.”

Stabler then made a motion “to authorize spending” for the upcoming hearing expenses by the legislative counsel and budget analyst and Red Corn seconded the motion. The motion passed with four “yes” votes and one “no” from Potts.

For more information on the Legislative Branch, filed legislative bills/ resolutions, upcoming sessions and committee meetings, visit: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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