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State House speaker resigns post

By Nolan Clay and Randy Ellis Modified: January 28, 2008 at 6:07 pm •  Published: January 28, 2008
"We look forward to working together with them to restore integrity to the House and pass legislation that is important to all Oklahomans."

Cargill came under fire this month for failing to file his personal income tax returns and for repeatedly paying property taxes on his law office late.

The Oklahoman reported that Cargill failed to file his 2005 and 2006 personal income tax returns until getting a warning from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. He blamed an accountant and said he was upset with himself because he was due refunds.

The Oklahoman also reported that Cargill was delinquent six years in a row in paying the property tax on his Harrah law office. He was months overdue in paying most of the bills. "I take full responsibility for this error," he said Friday about his property tax bills. "I certainly apologize to the people of Oklahoma and to my colleagues, and will take steps to ensure these matters are handled in a timely and efficient manner in the future.”

Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, said Cargill's troubles were of his own making.

"It is unfortunate that it had to come to this, but Speaker Cargill brought his troubles on himself," Dank said. "The people of Oklahoma have a right to expect exemplary conduct of those they send to the state Capitol, and he failed that basic test."

Cargill was pressured by his own party to step down, Dank said.

"Oklahomans should know that his resignation came after considerable pressure from members of his own party," he said. "We are determined to advance a true reform agenda during the upcoming session, including passage of the ethics and campaign finance reform bill I have introduced to address many of the same issues that led to Speaker Cargill's resignation. I look forward to working with the new House leadership to make that bill a reality."

The state Ethics Commission also is believed to be investigating whether Cargill had anything to do with how political checks intended for the Oklahoma Republican Party instead went to the Oklahoma County Republican Party in 2004.

Cargill read from a prepared statement this afternoon in announcing his resignation and did not take questions afterward.

Statement from Lance Cargill


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