Delaware State Senate Democratic leadership Wednesday urged state Auditor of Accounts Kathy McGuiness to, at minimum, take a leave of absence while facing felony and misdemeanor charges related to her conduct in office.
Speaking through her attorney, McGuiness vowed to remain in office after a grand jury indictment related to her actions in office.
The statement was released by state Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Dave Sokola, Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, and Majority Whip Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman.
“For State Auditor Kathy McGuiness to be the subject of a grand jury indictment detailing official misconduct, theft, and witness intimidation is deeply troubling, particularly given her responsibilities. Put simply, those alleged actions, if true, represent a damaging abuse of office – both a criminal offense and a desecration of the oath of office,” the senators stated.
The statement continued, “While we firmly believe an accused person deserves their day in court, we also believe that the scale of the charges both shatters the public’s confidence in Auditor McGuiness’ ability to serve as a watchdog of government finances and prevents her from meeting the duties and obligations of her office.”
“Today, we urge Auditor McGuiness to place the public’s interests ahead of her own. At a minimum, she should take a voluntary leave of absence while the Department of Justice’s investigation is ongoing and while the Delaware State Senate considers its own Constitutional obligations in this matter,” the statement concluded.
The Delaware Constitution has a process for impeachment and conviction of an official. Conviction does not go beyond removal from office or a ban from seeking elective office. It also allows court proceedings to proceed.
Previously, a few Democratic members of the Delaware House urged McGuiness to step down. Senators had been silent on the issue.
It remains unclear whether the impeachment process has ever been used in connection with a public official.
Delaware has no provisions for voter recalls of elected officials.