Veteran State Senator Kyle Loveless (R-El Reno) resigned Thursday amid an ethics investigation, making him the third Republican to resign in 2017. The resignation is raising new questions into who’s at the helm of the Oklahoma GOP.
Loveless is currently under investigation for not disclosing more than $53,000 in campaign contributions since 2012.
While the investigation was both reported and confirmed by the Oklahoma GOP, the state Ethics Commission Executive Director Ashley Kemp wouldn’t confirm its existence. She said all investigations are confidential and couldn’t confirm if one was underway.
In his two-sentence resignation letter, Loveless seemingly points to the investigation saying "mistakes I have made are the responsibility of no one other than myself."
Loveless is the third Republican to resign from his seat at the Capitol. Tulsa Rep. Dan Kirby (R) resigned after a lengthy sexual harassment investigation. Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Moore) was all but expelled after allegations were made he paid a teenage boy for sex. His investigation is still ongoing.
All of it however, is raising questions about whether the GOP is a party on the brink of losing control.
“We don't make excuses for people,” OKGOP Chair Pam Pollard said. “We stand behind them as human beings but each one of us is a human being, and each one of us has to be held to whatever standard of law enforcement.”
Pollard said Loveless is a long-time friend and the pair shared a “sad” phone call about his resignation. His decision to resign was kept under wraps from even the closest staff. One staffer said Loveless didn’t tell them about the resignation until less than 20 minutes before his letter was released.
When asked why Republicans haven't banded together to repair their image, Pollard said they have and leadership is just doing it for each other instead of concerned voters.
“You talk amongst yourself, you discipline amongst yourself, you try to get things worked out and you encourage and teach and train amongst yourselves,” Pollard said about the inner workings of the party.
“I just hope that each one of us as elected officials will really pay attention and care about the rules and the laws that we all live by,” she said.