After House Committee Recommends Expulsion, Kirby Resigns Again
TULSA, Oklahoma - After a House investigative committee recommended Representative Dan Kirby should be expelled, he issued his resignation letter.
Thursday, for the first time in state history, it was recommended a sitting member be removed from the House of Representatives.
The decision was made after a special committee investigated two accusations of sexual harassment against Kirby.
Kirby announced his resignation through a private consulting firm. In the release, Kirby says, "I cannot in good conscience, continue to fight against the unfounded accusations and what I believe to be unreasonable committee recommendations..."
He goes on to say "the committee has ensured that this would be a lose-lose situation for me and my district."
Saturday, the press secretary for the Speaker of the House said Kirby sent an irrevocable letter of resignation.
The letter reads:
"Dear Speaker McCall:
"...I hereby irrevocably tender my resignation from the elected position as State Representative for House District 75. Such Resignation shall become effective Wednesday, March 1st, 2017."
In response, House Minority Leader Scott Inman issued a statement saying:
"The allegations that were set forth in the report of the House Special Investigation Committee were troubling and should never be tolerated. For that reason, the House Minority Leader and the House Democratic Caucus were pleased to hear that Representative Kirby has done the right thing and resigned. We hope the victims of this sordid episode find some measure of comfort in the announcement.
"The Oklahoma House of Representatives can now move forward and attend to the vital business of the state.
"Nevertheless, the House investigation should not end here. The report of the Special Investigation Committee failed to identify everyone who was involved in the expenditure of $70,000 of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim against Representative Kirby, and then tried to quietly cover it up.
"We will insist on a genuinely independent investigation into this matter if the information is not revealed in due course."
The resignation still has to be formally accepted and it wouldn't be official until March 1st.
By resigning, Kirby saves his pension; an expulsion from the House would have taken it away.
This is the second time Kirby has issued a resignation letter in wake of sexual harassment claims.
In his first letter, issued in December 2016, Kirby addressed the claims saying, "Recent events have caused a situation where my continuing in office would be such a distraction that I could not serve my constituents in the manner they deserve. I believe that a resignation is in the best interest of the district, House of Representatives and the state of Oklahoma.”
Days later, Kirby rescinded his resignation saying his attempt to resign did not conform with state law and that he “determined that my decision to resign was hasty and based upon bad advice.”
The letter continues to read, “I have no intent to resign my office as Representative for District 75 – House of Representatives for the State of Oklahoma.” Kirby, at that time, said he believed it would be in the best interest of his constituents to serve out his term.
Kirby was accused of harassing two women. One was paid a $44,000 taxpayer-funded settlement; a move that the committee determined was legal. The other, a legislative aid named Carol Johnson, accused Kirby of pressuring her into sending him topless photos and going to a strip club with him. Kirby told the committee the two had been in a consensual relationship.
At one point, Kirby refused to testify before the committee saying, "Until the committee can guarantee a fair process, I cannot [sic] subject myself to blind interrogation."
The Republican representative did, however, testify and complimented the committee saying, "I would like to compliment the committee on allowing me to give my side of the story. I think they've done a fair job in allowing me to present my side. They were professional and I appreciate that of them."
The committee also looked into sexual harassment allegations against Representative Will Fourkiller.
The committee reports showed a high school legislative page filed an official complaint against Fourkiller. But because he refused to testify, the committee recommended a reprimand.