Lawmaker arrested for failing to pay income taxes: 'I'm not resigning'

The state representative arrested three weeks ago for failing to pay income taxes tells KATV he is not resigning.

The Arkansas state representative arrested three weeks ago for failing to pay income taxes tells KATV he is not resigning.

State Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs, spoke with Channel 7 late Wednesday afternoon after the governor called for his resignation. Authorities say he owes Arkansas nearly $260,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest.

Gates said, "I have not been arraigned or in front of a judge to declare my innocence."

Gates went on to say, "I’m sorry the governor is not affording me my rights of a presumption of innocence. What I told state police was accurate and true and [I] can’t wait for my day in court. I can’t wait to ask if the state reported that he has been paying $1,500 a month every month for nearly two years as part of a returns settlement on the first five years of my audit."

As previously reported, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has called for Gates' resignation. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has also said Gates should step down.

Other colleagues have asked for his resignation, including Democratic Party Chairman Representative Michael John Gray, D-Augusta.

"Personalities aside, party politics aside, we owe it to the voters of Arkansas to have respect for the fact that they sent us here," said Gray. "So stepping aside is the only option when something like this comes, to protect all of the other members of the body that are operating above board and working hard to serve their communities ... you're casting a shadow on the whole Capitol."

Gray continued: "One of the frustrating things is that the leader of the Republican Party has not called for his resignation although the governor has. And so, unfortunately, has it come to more about wins and losses and party politics and less about serving the people of Arkansas? That's a little frustrating. So I'm not inside Rep. Gates' head. I don't understand why he's not resigning."

Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb stood by a previous statement, supporting Gates and his continuing bid for re-election.

Gates' attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, said he's not Gates' political spokesperson, but he's entering a not guilty plea. He added that Gates has a valid defense that will be shown in court and that It's wrong to say someone should resign simply because he's been charged.

House Speaker Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, told KATV in a statement:

I am not currently seeking to convene a House caucus with regard to this matter for a number of reasons. My intention at this time is for the House to continue to proceed in a manner that is consistent with due process and past precedent. At the outset, I immediately took action to suspend Rep. Gates from select committees and leadership positions. I will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation.

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