The story of Rep. Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, fall seems simple. The man who was the second most powerful elected official in the state as speaker of the House, who advocates for cutting taxes, practiced his own version of tax cuts by not filing.
This slipup made its way to the state's largest newspaper, and the resulting articles were too embarrassing for Cargill to remain as speaker.
Several of Cargill's fellow Republicans admit both on and off the record the tax issues were too much to handle. But they also speak of a culture and mind-set Cargill and his leadership team forced on their membership which created a sense of panic and disloyalty that otherwise might have prevented such a disastrous fall.
"There was a tremendous amount of fear," said one Republican House committee chair.
Cargill's troubles as leader of the House were simmering before he ever took the gavel. In 2006, then-Speaker Todd Hiett removed Cargill as majority floor leader after complaints from fellow Republicans mounted on Cargill's abilities to push legislation. Another reason for the removal, sources have told the Gazette, was questionable campaign fund-raising tactics Cargill allegedly coordinated.
The removal was only a minor setback, as Cargill became Speaker by the end of the year.
"I had questions when he was designated speaker-elect, but all I could do was hope for the best," said one former House Republican who served with Cargill in 2006. "But I was very concerned. I had issues with him as majority leader. I lacked confidence in his abilities to manage the ship." "Scott Cooper