Legislative leaders released a letter reiterating their calls for indicted state Auditor Troy Kelley to resign.
OLYMPIA — Legislative leaders released a letter Wednesday reiterating their calls for indicted state Auditor Troy Kelley to resign.
Kelley, a Democrat elected to the position in 2012, pleaded not guilty earlier this month to an expanded set of federal charges related to business dealings and tax filings. He is scheduled for a trial in March 2016, and has been on an unpaid leave of absence since spring.
“It is hard to imagine that you are able to perform any services to the state while on this leave of absence, let alone fulfill the duties of such an important elected office,” said the letter delivered to the state Auditor’s Office. “It is reasonable for you to focus your time and energy on your federal case, but it is unreasonable for the public to be without a trustworthy and fulltime elected Auditor in the meantime.”
Kelley’s lawyer, Angelo Calfo, said Kelley has no plans to resign.
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“Federal prosecutors shouldn’t have the power to remove a public official from office simply by accusing them of a crime,” Calfo said in an email. “That is why Troy Kelley should not and will not resign.”
Calfo added that Kelley will prove at trial that the prosecution’s efforts “are completely misguided.”
The letter is signed by House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson of Maury Island and House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen of Snohomish.
While requests for Kelley to step down came throughout spring, Kristiansen said that Wednesday’s letter carried the weight of the entire Legislature.
There have been discussions by members in all corners of the Legislature on whether to impeach Kelley, said Kristiansen, who wouldn’t rule out that option.
“If he makes the decision not to (resign), there may be following consequences or following actions,” Kristiansen said.