Update: Del. State Auditor Kathy McGuiness Convicted of 3 Charges
*Additional story update:
Delaware State House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear and Majority Whip Larry Mitchell, D-Elsmere released this statement Friday following the conviction of State Auditor Kathy McGuiness:
“We put our trust in our elected officials – especially those whose responsibility is to serve as a watchdog for the state’s finances – and when you lose that trust, you cannot serve in that position any longer. Since the auditor was initially charged, we have maintained that we should wait and let the legal process play out. It has, and the auditor has been found guilty of several crimes that call into question her fitness to serve in this office. As a result, the auditor should step down from her position and resign immediately.
“Additionally, the Delaware Constitution is clear: If the auditor will not resign, the governor must exercise the powers he has to ‘remove from office any public officer convicted of misbehavior in office.’ She cannot continue to serve in this position, and the governor can take action to remove her from office should she refuse to resign.”
The Democratic leadership of the Delaware Statement issued a statement shortly after State Auditor Kathy McGuiness was convicted of three charges, calling for her to immediately resign.
The following statement was released by State Senate President pro tempore David Sokola, D-Newark, Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, Bear and Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington:
“Today a Kent County jury found State Auditor Kathy McGuiness guilty on three counts that, taken together, show a brazen willingness to circumvent the same open government laws and accounting standards she was elected to enforce.
When Auditor McGuiness was charged in November, the Senate Majority Caucus immediately called on her to take a leave of absence, citing concerns about her ability to execute her official duties given the gravity of the transgressions outlined in the indictment.
Now that she has been found guilty of official misconduct, illegally structuring contracts to flout procurement laws, and conflict of interest, we call on her to resign immediately. Any public official engaged in these behaviors is unfit for public office, but especially the state’s top financial watchdog.
While Auditor McGuiness considers her options and political future, the Delaware State Senate will carefully consider its Constitutional role in ensuring accountability and that the best interests of Delawareans are served.”
Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness has been found guilty of official misconduct, structuring and conflict of interest following a trial in Kent County Superior Court.
The verdict came Friday morning. The panel received the case Thursday afternoon and began its deliberations then. McGuiness was also tried for two felony charges, theft and intimidation.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings released this statement:
“From the moment I took office, I promised that no one would be either above the law or beneath Justice. Today’s guilty verdict confirmed that. After weeks or grueling trial and mistreatment of whistleblowers, the state auditor — whose job is to protect our state from waste, fraud, and abuse – has been found guilty of three crimes by a jury of her peers. I am grateful for the jury’s judgment, for the excellent work of our trial team, and above all else for the courage of the whistleblowers and witnesses who came forward and made accountability possible. Our office’s — and the jury’s —message is clear: abuse of office will not be tolerated in Delaware.”
According to the AG’s office, this is the first conviction of a sitting statewide elected official in Delaware history.