Cargill resigns as House speaker amid ethics allegations 

In a surprise move, Lance Cargill stepped down as Oklahoma Speaker of the House this afternoon. House President Pro Tem Gus Blackwell will serve as interim speaker until a new speaker is chosen next week.

 

Cargill read a statement to the press in the House lounge confirming his departure, but refused to take any questions. He will remain a member of the House of Representatives.

 

"I have decided to step aside today as speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives," Cargill said in his statement. "I want nothing more than to have good ideas to move forward without the burden of being weighed down by personal stories about me. I have always said my leadership has been about good ideas, and this move will allow those ideas to flourish as they should. This decision came after I spoke with most of my colleagues over the weekend."

 

INVESTIGATION

Cargill's announcement comes amid a state ethics investigation into possible illegal campaign contributions involving the former speaker. The state Ethics Commission is expected to announce its findings soon. Oklahoma Gazette has also reported Cargill's alleged involvement in a pay-to-play scheme involving campaign contributions.

 

Recent reports have brought up Cargill's admission of failing to file personal and property taxes.

 

Cargill's move to step down comes one week before the start of the Legislative session. On Tuesday, he said he will unveil his "100 Ideas" book.

 

Under state rules, the House Republican caucus will meet 8:30 a.m. Monday to designate a new candidate for speaker. The full House will vote on the matter later in the day.

 

Among those being touted by some of the Republican members as possible replacements include:

" Rep. Chris Benge,

" Rep. John Wright and

" Rep. Susan Winchester. -Scott Cooper

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