OKLAHOMA CITY – Tulsa Republican Rep. Dan Kirby sent in his resignation letter Saturday afternoon.
In a news release, Kirby said, “I cannot, in good conscience, continue to fight against unfounded accusations and what I believe to be unreasonable committee recommendations when the end result will ultimately be that the people of House District 75 will not have a voice at the State Capitol for the next two years. The committee has ensured that this would have been a lose-lose situation for me and my district.”
In response to Kirby’s resignation Gov. Mary Fallin said, “I respect Representative Kirby’s decision, and it is in everyone’s best interest so we can focus on state issues.”
The news comes after a special committee recommended Thursday that he be expelled from the House.
Kirby has been under investigation for more than a month after a sexual harassment settlement surfaced, paid quietly by the former Speaker of the House to a former aide. He resigned in December and then took it back a few days later.
Rep. Dan Kirby’s press release:
Immediate Release: Saturday February 4, 2017
Representative Dan Kirby Announces Resignation
Media Contact: PrecisionStrategyGroup@gmail.com
Despite the Special House Investigative Committee report findings which cleared Representative Dan Kirby of sexual harassment allegations, the Tulsa area legislator announced he will step aside. The committee suggested that a vote to expel Representative Kirby should be held; however, even if he triumphs over that vote he would not have the privilege of carrying bills, appearing before committees, or being recognized on the house floor according to other recommendations from the committee.
“I cannot, in good conscience, continue to fight against unfounded accusations and what I believe to be unreasonable committee recommendations when the end result will ultimately be that the people of House District 75 will not have a voice at the State Capitol for the next two years,” Kirby said. “The committee has ensured that this would have been a lose-lose situation for me and my district.”
The committee findings also cleared Kirby from any responsibility regarding the settlement of the wrongful termination claim Hollie Bishop made against the House when she was not even working for Kirby. The findings were clear that no sexual harassment occurred and that the house might have been successful in litigation but that former Speaker Hickman chose to avoid a lawsuit by offering the settlement. An action which Kirby has repeatedly said he disagrees with.
“Despite this, it seems that the committee and the press are trying to make these matters related. I never sexually harassed anyone in the House of Representatives. I even provided the Committee with text messages from Ms. Bishop which were written shortly before she went to human resources with her complaint against me. These text messages reflect that the real reason Ms. Bishop was upset with me was because she learned I had asked Tom Newell about rumors in the Capitol that she was having a relationship with a married Representative. I explained to her that I discussed the matter with Tom because the rumors and drama were affecting my office. In those messages, I told her that if she was upset about me inquiring into the matter, I would ask human resources to move her. When I asked her if she wanted to stay as my assistant, her response was ‘If you want me to’. I told her that she needed to keep the drama and rumors out of my office. A few days later, she went to human resources and claimed sexual harassment. I can only speculate as to Ms. Bishop’s intentions but several investigations have concluded that I did nothing wrong and had nothing to do with the settlement or her firing,” stated Kirby.
Kirby cited Speaker McCall’s commitment to follow the committee recommendations as his ultimate reason for making his decision to resign. He expressed respect for the Speaker’s position but stated his unequivocal disagreement with the recommendations from the committee.
“I made the decision to stay and fight against the false allegations so I could have an opportunity to clear my name and to represent the good people of House District 75,” stated Kirby. “The findings of the committee are clear that I harassed no one. 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. Although I provided the Committee with pages of text messages, Ms. Johnson’s Facebook posts and letters from her which clearly support that she was not harassed, as well as evidence that I was not the only man to whom she sent unsolicited topless photos, the Committee chose to treat a consensual relationship far too harshly and treat unwanted actions of Representative Fourkiller toward a minor with basically a slap on the wrist.”
Although clearly disappointed by the actions of the committee, Kirby expressed gratitude to the people of House District 75 and his colleagues for his time in office.
“Being a Representative of the people has been the highest honor of my entire life. I am and always will be proud of the legislation I have carried to protect children, strengthen athletic regulations, make youth sports safer, and many other positive reforms I have carried. I believe I have always treated the people’s business with the dignity and respect it deserves,” said Kirby. “I am so thankful for the 8 years that the people of House District 75 gave me to represent them and I hope we will be well represented in the future.”
Kirby delivered his irrevocable letter of resignation to the Speaker of the House Saturday morning.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.