Oklahoma Lawmaker Accused of Harassment Submits Resignation
State Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, announced plans to resign on Saturday, two days after a special House committee recommended he be expelled from office.
State Rep. Dan Kirby, accused of sexually harassing two former legislative assistants, arrives to testify before a special House committee that is investigating sexual harassment accusations against him at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Friday, Jan. 27 2017. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP)
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma lawmaker who admitted asking a legislative aide to send him topless photos and accompany him to a strip club announced plans to resign on Saturday, two days after a special House committee recommended he be expelled from office.
“I hereby irrevocably tender my resignation from the elected position as State Representative for House District 75,” Republican Dan Kirby of Tulsa said in the two sentence letter to Republican House Speaker Charles McCall. “Such Resignation shall become effective Wednesday, March 1st, 2017.”
McCall spokesman Jason Sutton said the speaker received the letter and forwarded it to Gov. Mary Fallin.
“He’s resigning, it’s irrevocable, so he’s leaving the Legislature,” Sutton said.
Fallin spokesman Michael McNutt said Fallin will now begin the process of scheduling a special election to fill the vacancy.
“I respect Rep. Kirby’s decision, and it is in everyone’s best interest so we can focus on state issues,” Fallin said in a statement.
Kirby did not return a phone call seeking comment, but issued a statement saying he can’t continue fighting what he called “unfounded accusations” and reiterated his denial that he sexually harassed anyone.
“In hindsight, it was poor judgement to work with someone with whom I had a very close and personal relationship with for over 5 years, but I strongly disagree that our actions warrant my expulsion,” Kirby wrote.
Kirby has said the relationship was consensual.
The chairman of the House committee, Republican Rep. Josh Cockroft, said after Thursday’s vote that he believed a two-thirds majority of the 101-member House, 68 members, would vote to expel Kirby if he did not resign.
House Minority Lead Scott Inman, D-Del City, released a statement saying he and the 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,” Inman said.
Marq Lewis of Tulsa, a founder of the activist group We The People Oklahoma that called for Kirby’s resignation shortly after the sexual harassment allegations first surfaced in December, said Kirby did the right thing in stepping down.
“We’re happy that this has happened and look forward to the special election,” Lewis said. “We wish Rep. Kirby well in his new endeavors.”
The House committee also looked into allegations of sexual harassment leveled by a second woman who worked for Kirby. But Cockroft said those allegations were the subject of a confidential wrongful-termination settlement agreement reached between the second accuser and former House Speaker Jeff Hickman that included a $44,500 payment of House funds to the woman and her attorneys.
Reports of the settlement using public funds sparked outrage and prompted House leaders to request that the committee determine whether the expenditure was legal.
The investigation determined that Hickman had the authority to authorize the agreement and the payment, Cockroft said.
When The Oklahoman newspaper first reported the allegations against Kirby, he submitted his letter of resignation to the House speaker, but then rescinded the resignation several days later, saying he was given bad advice.