House Investigation Committee Recommends Expulsion Of Rep. Dan Kirby
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Special Investigation Committee released its finding Thursday in an investigation of Rep. Dan Kirby and recommended that he be expelled from the House of Representatives.
In addition to expelling Kirby from the House the committee also recommended that Kirby lose his committee chairmanship, committee appointments, bills authored by Kirby by removed from consideration and a loss of privileges to a legislative assistant.
The committee also recommended that Rep. Will Fourkiller (D-Stilwell) attend sensitivity training and be prohibited from interacting with the House Page Program for one year.
For about a month, the committee has been investigating Kirby and Fourkiller. Kirby was the original reason the committee convened.
The Kirby (R-Tulsa) is being investigated after claims that he sexually harassed several former staffers. The Rules Committee is also looking into how taxpayer dollars were spent settling a wrongful termination claim by one of the same staffers.
This has been a difficult process, and I am thankful for the members of the Committee who participated and meticulously investigated this matter,” said Committee Chairman Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette. “This was a bipartisan effort, and every member who participated took this matter seriously and received all of the evidence with an open mind. It was a fair and thorough investigation, and the members of the Committee believe our recommendations are appropriate.
In addition, the committee found that the House has the legal authority, and acted upon that authority, to expend operational funds to settle the wrongful termination claim brought by a former employee.
The committee also recommended that the Speaker of the House Charles McCall establish a bipartisan committee of members to review and vote on any further legal settlements that may arise.
Wednesday, McCall created the bipartisan House Expenditure Oversight Committee and authorized it to review and authorize all large capital and/or expenditures that exceed $15,000.
The recommendations of the committee will now be considered by the full body of the House of Representatives. Expulsion from the House required a two-thirds majority vote of the body, or 68 members.
In a reversal of his earlier decision Kirby testified before the committee on Friday. Last week he said he would not testify.
After testifying Friday before the committee, Kirby spoke to reporters briefly, but did not give insight into any potential decisions to be made.
"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," Kirby said appearing fatigued after Friday's meeting. "I hope that you guys will understand that I will not be giving any more public statements at this time. We're going to wait until the findings of the committee are made available."
Kirby had previously said he would not testify without his attorneys present. His decision to testify came after Speaker of the House Charles McCall suspended his chairmanship of the House Committee on Commerce, Business and Tourism. He said in a statement on Thursday his decision to testify was in the best interest of his constituents and the citizens of Oklahoma.
The committee has met several times over the course of two weeks. Each meeting, including the meeting on Friday was held in executive session away from the public eye and reporter questions.
Two Democrats appointed to the committee have refused to attend the meetings because they were asked to sign confidentiality agreements barring them from discussing the investigation until the findings were released.