State lawmakers introduce bipartisan resolution to impeach Troy Kelley

Reps. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn and Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, filed a resolution to begin the process of impeaching Auditor Troy Kelley. The resolution finds cause to impeach Kelley for malfeasance in office.

Kelley declared a leave of absence on May 4 and delegated authority to his deputy, an unelected employee of the State Auditor's Office, with no set return date.

“For months, leaders from both parties have called on Troy Kelley to resign his position as state auditor and he has continued to ignore those calls, placing his own interests ahead of the citizens of Washington,” said MacEwen. “Kelley has left us no other choice but to move forward with impeachment in order to restore accountability to the State Auditor's Office. Government accountability is not a partisan issue. This is about doing what is right for the people of Washington. It is my hope that we can address this issue immediately upon returning to session in January, finally closing this unfortunate chapter in our state's history.”

The charges include the abandonment of his office, improper delegation of the powers and duties of his office to an unelected official, failure to perform the duties of his office, the willful neglect of the duties of his office and undermining the public trust.

“This isn't about guilt or innocence,” said Rep. Sam Hunt. “This is about living up to the high expectations of the voters that their elected state auditor fulfill the requirements of his job. Auditor Kelley has demonstrated he cannot do his job while his personal legal issues continue.”

Rep. Drew Stokesbary added his concerns for maintaining public trust and government accountability.

“By delegating the entirety of his authority to an unelected employee of the State Auditor's Office, for an indefinite duration, Troy Kelley clearly violated his oath of office and constitutional duty,” Stokesbary said. “Kelley has irrevocably broken the public trust, and the citizens of Washington deserve an elected auditor who is able to show up for work every day focused on maintaining efficiency and transparency in government, anything other than that is simply unacceptable. Calls for his for his resignation have been unanimous, but his refusal to put the people of Washington first leaves the Legislature no choice but to exercise its constitutional responsibility to remove him from office.”

Rep. Chris Reykdal noted the high standards to which all public employees are held.

“A large portion of our state's public employees live in my district. If any other public employee were in this situation, that person wouldn't be able to keep their job. We hold all of our state employees to a high standard of conduct. Auditor Kelley should be held to the same standard. He should resign immediately so the people of Washington can begin the process of finding his replacement,” said Reykdal.

Article V of the state constitution outlines the authority and procedure for impeachment. A constitutional majority, or 50 votes, is required to send the articles of impeachment to the state Senate where a trial would be conducted. A two-thirds majority vote by the Senate is required for removal from office.

The Legislature is scheduled to convene on January 11, 2016.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov