A federal grand jury indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley on 10 counts of criminal activity. Troy faces charges ranging from tax evasion, filing false tax returns, false declarations, obstruction, and possession of stolen property. Yet, he refuses to resign.
Since news of the two year long federal investigation into Kelley broke earlier this month, the Washington State Republican Party and various news outlets—including the Seattle Times—have called for his resignation. The State Auditor is responsible for holding individuals and entities in government accountable for their financial management. It was clear that the criminal nature of the investigation was starkly at odds with the integrity Kelley’s office demands.
Just yesterday, Jay Inslee defended his decision not to call for Kelley’s resignation or pursue further inquiry concerning Kelley’s involvement in the criminal investigation. Inslee went so far as to challenge a reporter to a physical fight after the reporter questioned him over his lax handling of the issues surrounding his fellow Democrat. Inslee suggested that perhaps he and a reporter should “go out in the alleyway and decide who is weak on [the issue].”
Inslee changed his tune after news of the indictment broke. He called for Kelley’s resignation today.
Unfortunately, Kelley remains defiant. Rather than resign, Kelley announced he would take a leave of absence starting May 1st. Kelley had the audacity to make the claim that “none of the allegations touch on [his] work as an elected official in any way” via a written statement.
Republican state Rep. Drew Stokesbary has signaled his intention to introduce articles of impeachment if Kelley does not resign. Stokesbary stated that Kelley “must leave office by May 10 so that the public can select his replacement later this year.”
The question remains of whether or not Democrats will join the effort to call for Kelley’s immediate resignation, or allow Kelley’s “leave of absence” to extend until after the May 11th deadline. As Shift pointed out, corrupt Democrats—like former Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon—all too often deliberately wait until after the candidate filing deadline, giving their fellow Democrat appointee more time in office, in hopes the public will forgot the sleaze that put them there in the first place.