TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — A pair of new political scandals are taking over the Oklahoma statehouse tonight. A former executive aide has been charged and another state senator placed under arrest Tuesday afternoon.
Travis Brauer was once Governor Mary Fallin's top assistant. He's facing charges of offering false or fraudulent evidence and destroying evidence in relation to allegations he took a picture up a woman's skirt at a late night meeting at the capitol.
Senator Bryce Marlatt resigned late this afternoon after he was booked on a charge of sexual battery of an Uber driver in June.
Scandals have, unfortunately, been normalized at the statehouse this year. Four state senators have resigned amid allegations misconduct since January. But community leaders are urging voters not to give up.
Accusations started with Dan Kirby in January. He was accused of sexually harassing two staffers, even paying one $44,000 dollars of taxpayer money to keep quiet.
Then Kyle Loveless gave up his seat after he was accused of embezzling money from his campaign.
Ralph Shortey, just last week, had his state charges dropped, but was hit with federal charges of child pornography and trafficking. He’s accused of meeting an underage male prostitute for sex in a hotel and is facing at least fifteen years in prison if convicted.
“You are held to a higher standard if you run for public office,” says Republican Party of Tulsa County’s David Arnett. “And you have an obligation to do the right thing.”
Now Marlatt, in a seemingly unending wave of scandal.
“We want good government,” Arnett says. “We want good people to serve. Unfortunately, like in personal relationships, you can't always tell the character of someone until you test that character.”
All four men have stepped down.
“We're not really talking about how to get more money into the classrooms to help the teachers,” Arnett says. “We're talking about some idiots’ bad behavior. And if they practice bad behavior, they are idiots.”
Voters are concerned about school funding, infrastructure and the health of the Sooner State. Leaders like Arnett are pleading they won't give up hope.
“We don't tar and feather people anymore, which is a good thing,” Arnett quips. “Tar is expensive and you just can't find good feathers. But in the general thing, we will vote them out of office.”
Marlatt was in jail for less than 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon. He posted a $5,000 bond but could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.