Cargill's resignation under question

Friday, February 1st 2008, 9:40 pm
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

Unpaid taxes may not be the only reason for Lance Cargill's recent resignation.

Before stepping up to the microphone on Monday, Lance Cargill was a lock to win a second term as Speaker of the House.

If you believe the papers, Cargill resigned over a failure to pay property taxes on time. This headline flies in the face of Cargill's own admission that an investigation into campaign finance was at play.

"Free of the constraints of the speaker's office I am going to be in a better position to respond to and defend against the false charges that have been made against me, whether they are in the ethics commission or in other forms," Cargill said.

In September, NEWS 9 broke the story of Cargill's campaign finance troubles. News of that investigation never made it to the front page of the paper.

Before Gus Blackwell, the number two Republican in the House could step up and replace Cargill, the media was given another leak about late property tax payments. Blackwell bowed out of the race for speaker.

NEWS 9 Political analyst Scott Mitchell said despite what the paper prints, tardy property taxes aren't enough to destroy the State's two most powerful Republicans.

"There is a possibility that there is something bigger and they're just using this to get to it because I don't see the property taxes as that big a deal," Mitchell said.

Representative Dale Dewitt is now running for Speaker of the House. While he won't speculate about who is leaking dirt on his fellow Republicans, he agrees Republican problems stem from alleged campaign corruption at the top of the party, and not unpaid taxes.

"There are problems there, and I think that we as legislators and as a party are going to have to step up to the plate and show the public that we can take care of our business in house," Dewitt said. "I think in order to do that we are going to have to make a change."

The change could happen Monday as Republicans and the House of Representatives elect a new speaker.

There are now 4 Republicans vying for Speaker. They are Dale Dewitt, Susan Winchester, John Wright and Chris Benge.