2 lawmakers seek impeachment process against State Auditor Troy Kelley

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Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley (Q13 FOX photo)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — There’s a new effort to drive embattled State Auditor Troy Kelley out of office.  Today two House lawmakers started the process of impeachment, to forcibly remove Kelley from his position.

Reps. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) and Drew MacEwan (R-Union) argue that the Auditor should go given that he faces a 10-count federal indictment for fraud and tax evasion and has relinquished his duties to a deputy.

Those charges relate to business activities before being elected in 2012.

“Through his action, Troy Kelley has put his own self interests ahead of the citizens of Washington,” said MacEwan.

“It is clear that Troy Kelley has now abandoned his office,” said Stokesbary (R-Auburn).

After being handed that devastating indictment last month, the State Auditor decided to take an unpaid leave to dedicate all his efforts to defending himself.

Kelly insists he’s innocent, but his trial date isn’t until next January, several months from now.  Those who want impeachment argue that the Auditor can’t just take a break from a position he was elected to perform.

“It is our belief that Mr. Kelley is guilty of malfeasance of office by abandoning his office and illegally delegating his authority to a non-elected official,” said MacEwan.

Stokesbary and MacEwan  want the House to vote to set up a special committee to draft articles of impeachment.

Also joining in the call for impeachment is State Senator Cyrus Habib (D-Bellevue).  He said it is unacceptable to have Kelley take a leave until his trial.  “Mr. Kelley should resign this week,” Habib said.  “If he does not, the legislature can and should fulfill its constitutional duty and consider articles of impeachment.”

The Auditor has faced a number of calls to resign, including from Governor Inslee and leaders of both parties.  Those calling for impeachment say they are taking this action because it’s clear Kelley isn’t responding to those pleas.

Impeachment would require a majority vote of the House of Representatives and a two-thirds vote in the State Senate.

The Auditor is charged with ensuring that money is being effectively and appropriately spent in state agencies and local governments across Washington.

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