Oklahoma Representative Dan Kirby must not be allowed to serve his term in District 75. To do so would be to reward corruption.

Oklahoma Representative Dan Kirby must not be allowed to serve his term in District 75. To do so would be to reward corruption.

When Rep. Kirby (R-Tulsa) was accused of sexual harassment and subsequently fired the woman who accused him, he faced a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Former speaker of the House Jeff Hickman did a favor for one of his caucus members and agreed to have the state pay almost $45,000 to the woman and her attorneys to settle the case before a lengthy public trial.

Of 71 Republicans in the House of Representatives, only a handful of them were aware of the payment. That is beyond scandalous. It is corrupt.

There should be an immediate investigation to determine if Hickman’s actions to protect Kirby were even legal. They certainly weren’t ethical and using every tool at his disposal to keep the payment secret flies in the face of Oklahoma’s Open Records act.

This payment was made in the worst traditions of corrupt state politics.

This case harkens back to Gov. David Hall’s arrest for bribery and the OkScam case of the 1980s that netted arrests in 60 of the state’s 77 counties.

Rep. Kirby did the right thing and resigned last week.

However, he rescinded that resignation Wednesday.

“I believe it is in the best interests of my constituents if I serve out the term they so graciously elected me to serve,” Kirby wrote this week.

Of course, if not for the secret deal to protect a colleague, the voters in District 75 might not have been as gracious to Kirby - he won his election by less than 2,500 votes.

All Republicans should be ashamed that their party leaders carried out this sleezy, secretive deal.

This interference in an election by covering up important facts is another reason voters don’t trust their government.

Newly elected Speaker of the House Charles McCall, (R-Atoka) has inherited a lot of problems from his predecessor.

The $800 million budget hole will be a big hurdle. If he expects the people to respect his leadership in these tough times, he will have to handle problems like Kirby’s appropriately.

McCall needs to make sure Kirby is not in his caucus when this session begins and one of his first actions as Speaker should be a call for an investigation into the legality of the settlement and issuance of state tax funds to pay it.

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pick up the tab for Kirby’s questionable behavior.