Some lawmakers didn't file taxes

Monday, January 21st 2008, 7:17 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

Some state lawmakers did not file their taxes last year. Three Democrats and two Republicans, including Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, made Oklahoma Tax Commission's late list.

According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, Representatives Don Armes, Ryan McMullen, Jabar Shumate and Senator Connie Johnson are all late.

We found Senator Johnson at a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event Monday.

"They have not been filed, going through a rather interesting divorce, you know after 26 years, it takes time to resolve issues and certainly business issues are a part of that," said Johnson.

Senator Johnson hasn't filed her taxes for the past three years.

"It's an area that I definitely acknowledge responsibility for and am working hard, have been working with the tax commission to get those issues resolved," said Johnson.

Johnson blames family challenges for the tardiness.

Speaker Lance Cargill, who did not file in 2005 or 2006 said there was a miscommunication with his accountant. 

"I am human, and I made a mistake. No one is more upset about this than me, especially because I am owed a refund," Cargill said.

Representative Armes released a statement.

"I take full responsibility, and will not rest until I'm current," Armes wrote. 

Representative Shumate apologized.

"I was shocked myself, I thought they had been taken care of," Shumate said.

Meinder's School of Business Dean, Vince Orza, said the lawmakers set a bad example by not filing.

"I think when voters go to the poll and these people hold themselves out as being elected officials, leaders in the community, but they can't adhere to the same laws that you and I have to, I think we should remember that and vote accordingly," Orza said.

After receiving a warning from the tax commission, Speaker Lance Cargill filed his taxes and Representative Armes filed one year and is working on the next.

Representative Shumate will meet with his tax preparer Tuesday about this issue. Senator Johnson did not indicate when she plans to file. Representative McMullen has not returned our calls.

Anyone who intentionally does not file could face a misdemeanor charge. State agencies are required to fire employees who don't file tax returns for several years. State lawmakers are exempt since they're elected and do not work for a state agency.