Democrats in Del. House, Senate Initiate Process to Seek Removal of Auditor McGuiness

Members of the Delaware State House Democratic Caucus are encouraging Governor John Carney to exercise his constitutional obligation to remove State Auditor Kathy McGuiness from office, once the verdict is entered by Superior Court.
McGuiness was found guilty of three misdemeanor charges July 1st. She was acquitted of two felony charges
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear are joined by 22 other House Democrats in stating that Carney is obligated to remove McGuiness from office, as the crimes meet the Constitutional criteria of “misbehavior in office.”

“With the stroke of a pen, the governor can fulfill his constitutional obligation and remove the state auditor from office. The governor has publicly stated that he believes the auditor cannot continue to serve in her position, and that he is waiting for the Superior Court to enter the verdict before fulfilling his duty,” Longhurst said.
Senate Democratic leaders, President pro tempore David Sokola, D-Newark, Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, D-Newark / Bear and Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington said the Auditor’s refusal to step down compels the Senate to initiate removal proceedings.
A Senate vote is planned for Monday, July 25th at 2:00 p.m.


The Senate Democratic leaders released this statement:

“In the two weeks since a Kent County jury found the State Auditor guilty of multiple crimes, including official misconduct, Auditor McGuiness has ignored repeated calls for her resignation.

Most Delawareans understand that an elected official who abuses their power and violates the law should not be employed at that tax-payer funded job any longer.

The Auditor’s refusal to place the public’s interest ahead of her own compels the Delaware State Senate to initiate removal proceedings as authorized by Article III, Section 13 of Delaware Constitution.”


The House Democratic Caucus released the following letter that was sent to Governor John Carney:

July 15, 2022
Governor John C. Carney Jr.
Tatnall Building
Dover, DE 19901
Dear Governor Carney:
We are writing to you to support the removal of the State Auditor from office upon entry of
judgement by the Superior Court, as prescribed in the Delaware Constitution and further supported
by case law that you have cited.

We have witnessed the State Auditor become the first sitting statewide elected official in Delaware
history to be charged with a crime. We watched the criminal proceedings move forward and on
July 1, the State Auditor was found guilty by a jury of three public corruption misdemeanor
charges: conflict of interest, structuring, and official misconduct. Afterward, the State Auditor
repeated her refusal to resign from office, despite renewed calls from state and local officials for
her to step down.

As elected officials, we take the oath of office all of us have sworn to uphold very seriously, putting
the best interests of the state and its people above all personal or special interests. Ethical behavior
and adhering to the law are paramount to an elected official maintaining public trust, especially
those in a statewide office tasked with serving as a financial watchdog.
The Delaware Constitution clearly spells out in Article XV, Section 6 that the Governor must
remove a public official who has been convicted of certain crimes: “All public officers shall hold
their offices on condition that they behave themselves well. The Governor shall remove from
office any public officer convicted of misbehavior in office or of any infamous crime.” (Emphasis
added)

The crimes the State Auditor has been found guilty of meet the Constitutional criteria of
“misbehavior in office,” and that as a result, you are obligated to remove her from office upon
entry of a judgement of conviction by the Superior Court.

We, the undersigned members of the Delaware General Assembly, agree with your assessment of
the constitutional provisions with Article XV, Section 6 providing the most clear and direct path
forward for the removal of the State Auditor from her elected office as prescribed in Delaware
Constitution once the verdict has been entered by the Superior Court. We support the removal of
the Auditor and agree with your public statement that the Auditor cannot continue to serve the people of Delaware given the circumstances.
Sincerely,

(signed by 24 Democratic lawmakers)

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