The steady drip-drip-drip you hear from across the state is the sound of newspaper editorialists and elected officials lining up behind the effort to impeach disgraced Democrat State Auditor Troy Kelley. The latest is the Yakima Herald, which wrote “Troy Kelley must be impeached.
“Kelley went back to work last week, just one day after a bipartisan group of legislators announced an impeachment resolution against him amid a 17-count federal indictment alleging tax evasion and money laundering related to a business he formerly owned. Kelley justifies his return — and his assertion that he should start drawing a state paycheck again — by claiming that he took his unpaid leave of absence so that he could clear his name.”
But Kelley’s name has not been cleared during his time off work. Instead, an exhaustive report by public radio’s Austin Jenkins dug the hole a bit deeper for Kelley, in part by showing that he didn’t much show up for work when he was getting paid.
So now he’s back on the job, utilizing the dubious logic that since legislators wanted to impeach him for not showing up, well then he’d better show up. As the Herald said, “The impeachment move, according to a Kelley logic that escapes us, violates the spirit of what he called a compromise.
“Problem is, a compromise involves more than one party, and it’s hard to find anyone else who signed onto it, even among Kelley’s fellow Democrats. A number of elected officials, ranging from legislators to Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, called on Kelley to resign last spring, as did both the Democratic and Republican parties. The impeachment resolution similarly finds bipartisan favor.”
Indeed, although Democrats were slow to try to push Kelley out, in what appeared to be a move to keep the seat in Democrat hands for as long as possible, it doesn’t appear that anyone actually suggested that a leave of absence was Kelley’s best move.
However, there is a very clear consensus viewpoint on what should happen now – Kelley must be impeached.
The key question is, does that consensus include House Speaker Frank Chopp – or will Chopp use his power to bottle up the impeachment process and protect his former State House colleague from the punishment he deserves?
Of course Chopp will back up a fellow traveler…. unless he decides it’s politically expedient to slip the knife in between the shoulderblades.