Democrat State Auditor Troy Kelley is still refusing to resign in the wake of his 10-count criminal indictment charging tax evasion and fraudulent business activities by a federal grand jury, though it is clear that he has lost the public’s trust. Instead, Kelley maintains that he will take a “leave of absence.” Since Kelley announced his intentions, many have speculated over whether or not he would continue receiving his taxpayer-funded paycheck during his leave scheduled to start this Friday—Kelley receives an annual salary of $116,950.
Today, news broke that Jay Inslee has directed the Department of Enterprise Services and Office of Financial Management to without compensation during Kelley’s leave. In a letter sent to Kelley on Monday, Inslee also expressed his concern over the fact that Kelley has yet to inform the Governor’s office of how the State Auditor’s office will be run during his absence. Inslee’s letter included a renewed call for Kelley to resign.
Inslee has certainly changed his tune since news of the federal grand jury indictment broke. Only after the charges were made public did Inslee finally join State Republican Chair Susan Hutchison and the Seattle Times in calling for Kelley to step aside. As Shift reported, on the previous day, Inslee fiercely defended Kelley—even to the point of asking a reporter if he would like to engage him in a physical fight.
If Kelley waits until after May 11—the deadline for a special election announcement—to resign, he would be doing Inslee a favor. Whomever Inslee would appoint to fill Kelley’s position would be in office, without voter approval, until the following election cycle.