A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers has introduced a resolution to impeach indicted State Auditor Troy Kelley. That announcement Monday follows months of calls for the first-term Democrat to resign after being charged with possession of stolen funds and tax evasion unrelated to his duties in office.
Two House Democrats and two House Republicans are behind the resolution. It accuses Kelley of malfeasance.
“The malfeasance of office is the fact that he has abandoned the office," said Republican state Representative Drew MacEwan.
"He has left the office and is not fulfilling his role as state auditor.”
The bar for impeachment is high; it requires a majority vote of the House and a two-thirds vote of the state Senate following a trial.
The Washington legislature convenes in January. Kelley faces a March trial in federal court and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Kelley's criminal defense attorney, Angelo Calfo, released a statement that read in part:
Mr. Kelley has just received a copy of the resolution, and I expect him to issue a public response as soon as he has a chance to review it carefully. A preliminary review of the resolution shows that it is not directly related to the federal prosecutors’ misguided indictment, but rather to Mr. Kelley’s current status of being on unpaid leave of absence as State Auditor.
Previously, Calfo has said that Kelley’s unpaid leave of absence is a “fair balance that prevents a publicly elected official from being removed from office based only on accusations.”