Senate passes McGuiness removal resolution, but House won’t go along

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The Delaware Senate Monday passed a resolution calling for the removal of State Auditor of Accounts Kathy McGuiness.

However, the House will not take up the matter making the Senate vote moot.

House leadership, including Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf,  issued the following statement Monday:

This isn’t taking decisive action: it’s political theater. I have no intention of calling the House into session to consider this resolution at this time. The Senate’s resolution would simply start a lengthy process to ultimately ask the governor to remove the state auditor from office – a request he’s not required to fulfill, and a request he’s indicated that he wouldn’t carry out at this time anyway.

“Going through this lengthy process will produce no different result than the letter our caucus members sent to the governor more than a week ago supporting him using his constitutional powers to remove the auditor at the appropriate time.

“The governor has stated that he intends to follow the Delaware Constitution, which clearly spells out the quickest and most direct process to remove a public official for misconduct: Once the verdict has been entered as a conviction by the Superior Court, the governor is required by law to remove the official. After the verdict in the state auditor case has been entered, the governor must remove her from office. That is as clear and simple as it gets.

“It’s important that the public understand that what the Senate is proposing is to start a process where the General Assembly would need to draft rules, give 10 days’ notice and then hold what amounts to a trial – where the auditor can be represented by legal counsel, call witnesses and present evidence. Afterward, each chamber would need a 2/3 vote to merely ask the governor to remove the auditor.

“Both options lead to the governor making the final call on removal, and he’s already said he intends to wait until a conviction has been entered, at which point he’s required to remove the auditor.”

Republican state  senators  continued to support the embattled Democratic officeholder who was found guilty of three misdemeanor charges.

The 13-7 vote was along party lines, with Republicans continuing to insist that the misdemeanor charges are minor and no sentence has yet been handed down. McGuiness was cleared of two felony charges and is appealing her conviction.

Under the state Constitution, the governor can remove McGuiness after a two-thirds vote from  each house following hearings that allow the auditor to make her case.

McGuiness, who is seeking a second term will face a Democratic opponent in the primary election and if nominated would go up against a  Republican hopeful.

In a release, the Republican Senate Caucus said voters should decide whether McGuiness is fit to hold office.