Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley gets his well-deserved day in court in March. But as federal charges pile up against the Democrat, so too do the calls for him to resign. The calls are coming from both political parties and the governor.
Last week, legislative leaders from all four political caucuses sent Kelley a letter formally asking him to step down.
It’s a reasonable request.
Early on, we felt Kelley should take a leave of absence until it was clear whether federal prosecutors would indict him on felony charges. He refused even that. Then 10 charges — including tax evasion tied to his role as owner of a company that worked with escrow companies in California — were handed down. He took leave but refused to resign.
Recently federal investigators added more charges including money laundering, bringing the total felony charges against him to 17.
Admittedly, no charge implicates Kelley’s role as auditor; he no longer is paid a state salary or receiving benefits of appreciable value from taxpayers. Plus, the Auditor’s Office is running well under the leadership of his former deputy, Jan Jutte. But, the charges cast a long shadow over Kelley’s once-good standing, and state government feels the chill.
For the good of all, Kelley should resign. If he clears his name, he can ask voters for a second chance.