OLYMPIA — As promised, Gov. Jay Inslee wrote a formal letter asking now-indicted state Auditor Troy Kelley to resign.
The letter, titled “RE: Your resignation” was emailed last night and then hand delivered this morning to the Auditor’s Office, according to David Postman, Inslee’s communications director.
The “grand jury indictment makes it clear that you can no longer serve the citizens of Washington as state auditor,” reads the letter, adding later: “But you have now been indicted for the very type of conduct that your office is tasked with regulating; in turn, you have lost the public’s trust.”
Kelley doesn’t see it that way: he’s vowed to fight the tax charges against him and clear his name.
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But it’s a lonely world out there now for Kelley. Aside from Inslee, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, state Treasurer Jim McIntire, Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark, several state lawmakers and both the state Democratic and state Republican parties have called for Kelley to step down.
Later on Friday morning, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the only statewide elected Republican in Washington, added her voice to the chorus.
“Troy Kelley’s actions have made it impossible for him, as State Auditor, to conduct the important work the voters of Washington expect of an independent watchdog of state and local government,” Wyman said in a statement. “He should resign immediately.”
Probably the most supportive remarks made toward Kelley came Thursday by a pair of Republican lawmakers in a regularly scheduled news conference. But those largely defended the judicial process and expressed sympathy for the auditor’s family.
House Minority Leader Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, said he was “very concerned” about the charges, but he batted down the idea that the House should begin with impeachment proceedings against Kelley.
“Let’s see what the courts have to say, let’s see what the evidence really is out there, and go from there,” Kristiansen said.
“I really feel sorry for his family,” said Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee. “That’s all I can say.”