Oklahoma Republican rescinds resignation after quitting over sexual harassment settlement
Oklahoma state Rep. Dan Kirby quit his job after he was called out by Democrats about a sexual harassment complaint filed against him. The House Democrats also complained that the Republican legislature used taxpayer money to pay off the woman who filed the complaint and was subsequently fired by Kirby. Given the scandal, Kirby was advised to resign, so he did. But now he’s rescinding that resignation, KOTV-News6 reported.
“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,” Kirby wrote in his resignation letter. “I believe that a resignation is in the best interest of the district, House of Representatives and the state of Oklahoma.”
Thursday a new letter for Kirby emerged, saying that his resignation didn’t exactly conform with state law for resignations. Instead, his resignation was “hasty and based upon bad advice.” He swore that his resignation letter went right the House Speaker-elect’s office but the governor’s office said they never received any resignation letter.
“I have no intent to resign my office as Representative for District 75 – House of Representatives for the State of Oklahoma,” he continues in his letter, saying he believes it isn’t in the best interest of his district.
State records show that Hollie Bishop, the aide that accused Kirby of sexual harassment, and her attorneys were paid $44,500 in two separate payments. The payment to Bishop was marked “legal settlement,” while the one to her attorneys was filed under “housekeeping” and cleaning supplies.
The new incoming House Speaker claims there was no cover-up for the payment and that marking the check as “housekeeping” and cleaning supplies was an error from the Offices of Management and Enterprise Services.
House Democrats have called for an investigation into both the sexual harassment complaint against Kirby and into who authorized the settlement payments at taxpayers’ expense.
It’s unclear if paying the settlement from state funds was legal or if any other settlements have occurred that are similar to Kirby’s that voters don’t know about.
“We ask Speaker-elect McCall to appoint five House Republicans and five House Democrats to an ad hoc committee, and to appoint one Republican and one Democrat to co-chair the panel,” Rep. David Perryman, the incoming Minority Floor Leader, said in a release Thursday.
Assistant Minority Floor Leader Emily Virgin explained, “This arrangement is modeled after the U.S. House Committee on Ethics. With both parties having equal representation, we can ensure there would be no question of political favoritism in the committee’s findings.”