The Second Osage Nation Congress is preparing to issue a report regarding the July subpoena interviews with Treasurer William Kemble and the Accounting Department staff.
The Congress sought the interviews and accounting records after hearing of potential problems in the Accounting Department from multiple sources.
The subpoena interviews held in mid-July raised issues including whether a June transfer of $300,000 from the Osage Minerals Council C-395 bank account to the ON government’s general account was legal; and whether the Treasurer’s 2004 policies and procedures manual reflected changes in the reformed government.
Once the report on the subpoena interviews are complete, it will be considered during the Tzi-Zho Session, said Congressional Speaker Jerri Jean Branstetter. The Tzi-Zho Session starts its 24-day run on Sept. 6.
Bill and resolutions related to the subpoena meetings may also be taken up in the Tzi-Zho Session. On Aug. 23 for example, Congresswoman Alice Goodfox filed a bill (ONCA 11-78) seeking to “rescind the authority of the Osage Nation Treasurer to sign or endorse” written documents on the OMC accounts and to reserve that authority to the OMC.
On July 5, the Congress unanimously voted to subpoena Kemble and several accounting staffers and later held its 10th Special Session to interview the subpoenaed parties and required the subpoena parties to submit various accounting records and documents to the Congress before the interviews.
The subpoena interviews were held July 14-15.
Before the Congress voted on the subpoenas on July 5, the Congressional Affairs Committee met and voted that morning to appropriate money to hire an outside (certified accounting) firm to review documents that are collected via subpoena and that firm will assist the Congress in evaluation of the records and testimony.
Branstetter told the Osage News on Aug. 30 the Congress was awaiting additional documents requested by the Treasurer’s office via subpoena immediately following the July meetings. She said the Congress was also working with the court reporters present at the meetings who took down the testimonies for the meeting report.
Goodfox’s ONCA 11-78 bill is titled “An act to rescind the authority of the Osage Nation Treasurer to sign or endorse written instruments on accounts of the Minerals Estate.”
If passed, ONCA 11-78 would require that “the Minerals Council shall have full and sole control over all Minerals Estate accounts and shall have all authority to open, close, administer, deposit and draft upon those accounts.”
This is the first time in the reformed Osage government’s history that the Congress has sought subpoenas at this size with regards to the number of testifying individuals and various documents and records.