Republican leaders in the Washington Legislature have called on state Auditor Troy Kelley, a Democrat, to take a leave of absence during a federal investigation that led to searches of his home and office.
OLYMPIA — Republican legislative leaders renewed calls Tuesday for Democratic state Auditor Troy Kelley to take a leave of absence during a federal investigation that has led to his home being searched and his office turning over records.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler also said Kelley should be more transparent about events that led federal agencies to seek not only documents from his home and office, but also various records from other state agencies and the Legislature.
Kelley has not spoken publicly about the investigation, but he has issued two written statements. The latest on Monday said all his actions were “lawful and appropriate” and that he was puzzled by the interest of federal authorities in his financial activities at the business he owned before he was elected.
Schoesler encouraged Kelley to “come forward, show everything, be transparent, and get this over with.”
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House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen said he was most concerned about the public perceptions about the head of an agency that is tasked with rooting out waste and fraud in government.
“You’ve got a state official who’s responsible for the accountability of not only individuals but state agencies,” he said. “Stepping aside for a little while might be appropriate.”
The state Republican Party last week called on Kelley to resign.
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has said Kelley should be open with the public but has not called on him to resign or go on leave. Democratic leaders in the state House and Senate haven’t weighed in. Messages left Tuesday seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Inslee spokesman David Postman said he wouldn’t make a judgment on whether Kelley’s written statement went far enough on the openness sought by the governor.
“If the question is: Should that be satisfactory through the total duration of this investigation and anything that follows? No, of course not,” Postman said.
In a written statement, state Democratic Party spokesman Jamal Raad said the party shares the governor’s concerns over the investigation and agrees that Kelley should be open with all details he can share about the investigation.