Leaders of the Oklahoma state Senate reacted Thursday with concern and disappointment over the indictment of former Senate leader Mike Morgan.
A Stillwater Democrat, Morgan was Senate President Pro Tem, then served as co-President of the Senate after Republicans gained a tie for control in the upper chamber after the 2006 election.
Wednesday, a federal indictment alleged Morgan illegally accepted more than $400,000 in payments from three companies while serving in the Legislature.
In his weekly encounter with members of the Capitol press corps, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman expressed sadness over the allegations, which include bribery, extortion and mail fraud.
Telling reporters he had not yet read a page one story in The Oklahoman about the 63-count indictment, the Sapulpa Republican said, “I don’t know any of the details. I think highly of Senator Morgan. I always found him honorable and fair.”
He continued, “I’m disturbed about the allegations, which came as a complete surprise to me. Regardless of whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, something like this casts a cloud over the whole Legislature.”
In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Senator Andrew Rice of Oklahoma City, the Democratic leader, said, “These are very serious allegations. We are very concerned with the charges. It is premature to make further comment.”
Rice concluded, “We will await the outcome of the case. Senator Morgan always conducted himself with professionalism, and in a bi-partisan manner, especially during the power sharing years with the Republicans.”