Committee recommends expulsion in Rep. Kirby investigation

Staff Writer

A report from the Oklahoma House of Representatives Special Investigation Committee on Feb. 2 was released, outlining findings and recommendations today on an investigation on a wrongful termination settlement paid to a former employee in November out of House funding.

The committee released a recommendation that Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa), the main defendant in the investigation, be expelled from the Oklahoma House of Representatives. It also recommends loss of committee chairmanship, loss of committee appointments, bills Rep. Kirby has authored to be removed from consideration, and loss of privileges to a legislative assistant.

The committee also released recommendations on how to handle Rep. Will Fourkiller (D-Stillwell), recommending the representative attend sensitivity training, as well as prohibiting him from interacting with the House Page Program for a year.

"This has been a difficult process, and I am thankful for the members of the committee who participated and meticulously investigated this matter," Committee Chairman Josh Cockroft said. "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."

The committee also found the House as the legal authority, and acted on that legal authority, to expend operational funds to settle wrongful termination claims brought by a former employee. The committee recommended the Speaker establish a bipartisan committee of members to review and vote on any future legal settlements that may arise.

House Speaker McCall acted on the recommendation, creating the bipartisan House Expenditure Oversight Committee, authorizing it to review and authorize all large capital and/or extraordinary expenditures that exceed $15,000.

The recommendations will go before the full House for consideration. Expulsion requires a two-thirds majority vote of the body.