PAWHUSKA — The Osage Nation principal chief has fired back at allegations made by a tribal congressional committee recommending his ouster, saying that the panel's actions were an overreach of power.
Osage Principal Chief John Red Eagle submitted a three-page response Wednesday to a report filed earlier in the week by the Osage Congress' Select Committee of Inquiry.
The committee's report found enough evidence to support allegations against Red Eagle on charges including malfeasance in office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office and abuse of the government process. It recommended Red Eagle be removed from office.
"They have convened a committee of inquiry which has recommended I face an impeachment trial," Red Eagle wrote. "Such a trial would make them a court, so they want to be the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch.
"I can appreciate there may be differing views," Red Eagle said. "Are we going to resolve such disagreements by bringing ethics charges against each other or convening a congressional removal inquiry process?"
The committee found insufficient evidence to substantiate eight allegations. But among the accusations it upheld were that Red Eagle refused to uphold a tribal law delegating "full and sole control over all Minerals Estate accounts" to the Osage Minerals Council; withheld information about the terms of a contract with a pipeline consultant from the Osage News and another newspaper that filed formal requests under the tribe's Open Records Act; and violated Osage and federal laws by using tribal funds to pay a consultant to develop and maintain his personal website.
The committee has denied claims that Red Eagle was denied due process, saying he would have the opportunity to put on a defense if an impeachment trial is convened.
The Osage Congress convenes Nov. 14 to consider the report, a local newspaper reported Thursday
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