GOP, Democratic Pressure Builds for State Auditor Kelley to Resign
When BOTH sides of the legislature start really piling on, maybe it's time to step aside.
Embattled State Auditor Troy Kelley has ignored calls from both sides of the House and Senate in Olympia urging him to step down, in the wake of an FBI investigation into a variety of embezzlement and other financial issues concerning a business he ran before becoming auditor.
Earlier this year, FBI and Treasury agents raided his West-side home, and now he's facing multiple federal counts. But as this week, he has yet to resign - despite being basically stripped of his job by Gov. Inslee. Officials say these charges and accusations make it impossible for him to maintain the financial integrity required of a State Auditor.
This week, a fresh round of pressure began from all four caucuses in the House and Senate, GOP and Democrat, for Kelly to step down. According to the Tacoma News-Tribune:
The two Republican and two Democratic caucuses sent him a joint letter Wednesday that Auburn Sen. Joe Fain posted on Facebook.
The letter cites this month’s federal indictment that charged Kelley with eight new felonies, including money laundering and tax evasion, as part of the reason he should resign immediately. Those charges are in addition to nine felony charges Kelley is fighting from his initial indictment in April.
Kelley, who was elected auditor in 2012, pleaded not guilty on all counts.
The letter from legislative leaders Wednesday said that while the the federal charges relate to activity outside Kelley’s official duties as auditor, the Tacoma Democrat should resign partly because he has been unable to perform his elected duties since beginning an unpaid leave of absence in May."
Kelley's attorney says federal officials should not have the power to force a state official to resign by accusing him of a crime, and called the charges unfounded. That's why Kelley should not resign, said attorney Angelo Calfo.