Oklahoma Democratic Party calls for investigation into sexual harassment scandal settlement
OKLAHOMA CITY – Thursday, the Oklahoma Democratic Party called for an investigation into the settlement paid to a former House of Representatives employee.
“Oklahomans deserve better than backroom bargains and good old boy politics,” Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Mark Hammons said.
He’s accused of sexually harassing a former staffer who was fired.
$44,000 in taxpayer funds were used to settle the complaint.
A lawsuit was never filed.
“These are serious questions created by fiscal irresponsibility and secrecy from the Republican leadership,” Hammons said.
Democratic leaders are waiting for documents to be handed over from Republicans regarding the settlement.
They said if they do not receive a prompt and thorough response, they will consider both civil action and call for a criminal investigation by the district attorney.
Following the press conference Thursday, House Speaker-Elect Charles McCall announced he will authorize the House Rules Committee to investigate the wrongful termination settlement.
“There is simply no excuse for sexual harassment by lawmakers at the Capitol,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “The House of Representatives should be a safe and professional place to work, free of any form of discrimination or harassment. Voters have given us the privilege of representing them, and it is a high honor with special duties attached. Workplace misconduct by lawmakers will simply not be tolerated under my leadership.”
Rep. Kirby said he had no knowledge of the settlement.
After speaking with my family and friends, I sent a letter rescinding my resignation so that I might have an opportunity to clear my name and complete my term. When I was wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, I was told that I should refrain from making any statements to the media. I followed that advice under the assumption that I would be able to deny the allegations at some point in the future. On December 21, 2016, I found out that the claim against the Oklahoma House of Representatives had been settled without my knowledge or consent when I read an article in the Oklahoman newspaper. I have never seen the settlement agreement nor do I have any knowledge of the terms contained in the settlement agreement. I would like to make it clear that the allegations of sexual harassment are untrue and I had no role in settling the claims made against the Oklahoma House of Representatives. – Rep. Dan Kirby.