Conservative lawmaker Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City, called upon State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, R-Tulsa, to resign in the wake of felony charges against her.
“Joy Hofmeister’s own words make it clear that it is best for the children of Oklahoma that she resign,” said Calvey, referring to emails referenced in the indictment filed by District Attorney David Prater, D-Oklahoma City, against Hofmeister and representatives of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) school administrators’ lobby and the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) teachers’ union, among others. “This isn’t a case of ‘he said, she said.’ Ms. Hofmeister admits in her own emails that she and CCOSA officials planned the massive illegal dark money negative campaign against her GOP primary opponent in advance, and that this dark money campaign would allow Ms. Hofmeister to focus solely on touting her own background rather than engaging her opponent.”
Calvey noted that his call for Hofmeister’s resignation should not be confused with the criminal case against her.
“Ms. Hofmeister is certainly entitled to the presumption of innocence in the criminal case against her,” Calvey said. “It is a firm principle of the American justice system that felony defendants be presumed innocent of the criminal charges against them. But surely the standard for holding public office is higher than merely avoiding prison. Even if she is acquitted of the criminal charges, the indisputable evidence clearly shows Ms. Hofmeister, CCOSA, and OEA conspired to violate campaign laws to get her elected. The citizens of Oklahoma and the children Ms. Hofmeister was elected to serve deserve better.”
Calvey questioned whether legislators would trust Hofmeister to lead the state’s largest agency with the cloud of criminal charges looming.
“If I were a trustee over a person’s funds, and discovered that the person’s CPA had obtained his license by overstating his credentials, wouldn’t I have an obligation to obtain a new CPA, regardless of whether that CPA had committed actual fraud or not? We legislators are in a position similar to that of a trustee over the citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars.
“Don’t we have an obligation to seek a new leader for the State Department of Education under these circumstances?”
Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, disagreed with Calvey’s call for Hofmeister to resign.
“I’m disappointed in Rep. Calvey’s request for Superintendent Hofmeister to resign,” Smalley said. “There is an ongoing investigation and we need to let the court do its job. Under our judicial system, Hofmeister is innocent until proven guilty. We are in the middle of filing bills and preparing for the upcoming legislative session. Instead of worrying about this case, we, as legislators, should be focused on legislation to improve the education of our children, increase salaries for our hardworking teachers, improve the funding formula and other important issues. That is our job.”