Some House Democrats want Rep. Jabar Shumate (pictured) House District 73 of Tulsa to step down as a top party leader. There also appears to be unrest aimed at two other House leaders in both parties; the concern is focused on their failure to pay state income taxes. Talk about them apparently escalated yesterday after House Speaker Lance Cargill resigned, in part over his failure to pay taxes in timely fashion.
"Some of us are sick and tired of the irresponsibility of some (members) making all of us look bad," said a rural Democrat. "I’m so tired of hearing about this from my folks…."
House Minority Leader Danny Morgan, D-Prague, said earlier that he realizes that both Republicans and Democrats failed to file tax returns. "There is no excuse for all of them not taking care of this; they should have known better," he said. Morgan said a man at his church surmised that Cargill understood how to reduce taxes: "Just don’t file them."
Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, perhaps echoing the sentiments of both Republicans and Democrats in the House, said the problem with the controversy over filing tax returns "makes all lawmakers look bad."
How widespread the effort to remove Shumate from the Democrat leadership post of assistant minority leader isn’t known, but it comes on the heels of a report in The Oklahoman that Shumate, as of the newspaper report eight days ago, had not filed state income tax returns for the years 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and that other House leaders in both parties also failed to file state tax returns.
Minimal mention of Shumate’s deliquency has appeared in his hometown media as the Tulsa World has focused stories primarily on Republican legislators. At the end of one story focused on Representative Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, the Tulsa World referenced Shumate saying the Tax Commission notified him by letter that he has not filed his 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2006 state tax returns. Shumate said he thought he had filed the returns and will “check with his preparer.”
The Oklahoman reported that Shumate was one of five legislators tardy with tax filings. The others included Cargill, who resigned as House speaker yesterday after repeated accounts of late income and property tax filings; Republican Rep. Don Armes of Faxon, who failed to file returns for 2005 and 2006; Democrat Rep. Ryan McMullen of Burns Flat, who failed to file in 2001 and 2006; Shumate; and Senator Connie Johnson, Oklahoma City Democrat, who failed to file returns in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
McMullen resigned last fall as House Democratic Caucus chairman and the Caucus elected Rep. Chuck Hoskin to replace him. “Ryan is the rising star of our House caucus,” said Rep. James Covey, D-Custer City, at the time legislative newcomer McMullen was named Caucus chairman. “He is well respected among our members. Many of our senior members of the Legislature look to Ryan for guidance on a variety of issues and he has been energetic and relentless in his fight for Western Oklahoma. We’re very fortunate to have such a rising leader representing our area.”
Armes is one of four deputy majority whips.
Shumate is one of eight assistant Democrat floor leaders in the House. Elected in 2004 and reelected in 2006, Shumate has been viewed by some as a rising Democratic Party star. He was a member of a Leadership Oklahoma class and has been involved in a long list of community and state organizations.
Shumate was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, January 26, 1976. His parents are Joseph and Cleatta Johnson of Tulsa; and Mr. Glenn E. Shumate of Atlanta, GA. He is a member of Sanctuary Evangelistic Church and holds a B.A., Public Affairs and Administration from the University of Oklahoma where he once served as Press Secretary. Shumate may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and at Post Office Box 48514, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74148.
About the Author:
Mike McCarville has covered Oklahoma politics and government since he became State Capitol Correspondent for The Tulsa Tribune in 1966. Since, he has been a governor’s press secretary, investigative reporter, television station news executive, radio station program director and talk show host, and political consultant. In 1980, he founded The McCarville Report and it is the nation’s longest-running state political publication. In its online version, it has been called "The best political blog" by Dr. Keith Gaddie, pollster and pundit and "Oklahoma’s venerable McCarville Report" by The Arkansas Times. McCarville, also a real estate investor and commentator for the National Rifle Association on NRANews.com and Sirius Satellite Radio, is a regular contributor to Tulsa Today.