Gov. Carney Not Yet Able to Take Action on Convicted Auditor McGuiness; Senate Leaders Respond
Delaware Governor John Carney, D-Del. said Tuesday that one more step is needed before he can take any action regarding convicted Auditor of Accounts Kathy McGuiness, D-Del.
In a statement from the Governor’s office Tuesday, reference was made to Article XV, Section 6 of the Delaware Constitution, which addresses the removal of any public officer convicted of “misbehavior in office or of any infamous crime.”
As clarified by the Delaware Supreme Court, the Governor has no power to act until after the entry of a judgement of conviction by the Superior Court, which has not yet happened.
Carney has indicated that he believes the Auditor cannot do her job effectively under these circumstances.
State Senate Democratic Leaders said in a statement Tuesday that they believe both the Constitution and the gravity of McGuiness’s crimes compel the General Assembly to make use of its own authority to remove her from office whether through Article VI Impeachment or Article III removal proceedings.
They also once again called upon McGuiness to resign, following her conviction on misdemeanor charges of misconduct in office, structuring and conflict of interest.
McGuiness was acquitted of two felony charges on July 1st.
Statement from Governor John Carney’s office:
“The Auditor of Accounts has been found guilty by a jury of three misdemeanors. The Delaware Supreme Court has made it clear that under Article XV, Section 6 of the Delaware Constitution, addressing the removal of “any public officer convicted of misbehavior in office or of any infamous crime,” the Governor has no power to act until after the entry of a judgment of conviction by the Superior Court. (See Slawik v. Folsom, 410 A.2d 512 (Del. 1979). The Superior Court has not yet entered a judgement of conviction in the proceeding.
The Governor has indicated that he believes the Auditor cannot do her job effectively under the circumstances, and he understands that some in the Legislature have called for her immediate removal from office. However, it is the Governor’s responsibility under the law to await the final determination of the court and then to determine his constitutional obligations after the entry of judgment.”
Statement from State Senate President pro tempore David Sokola, D-Newark; Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, Bear; and Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington:
“Based on the clear legal precedent established in Slawik v. Folsom, the Senate agrees with Governor Carney that at this stage he cannot unilaterally remove the State Auditor from her position under Article XV of the Delaware Constitution.
At this juncture, we believe both the Constitution and the gravity of Auditor McGuiness’s crimes compel the General Assembly to make use of its own authority to remove her from office, whether via Article VI impeachment or Article III removal proceedings. Today, we want to make crystal clear our intentions to do exactly that for the Delawareans who are demanding accountability following the Auditor’s egregious breach of public trust.
Delawareans deserve a State Auditor who is able to safeguard taxpayer dollars and good fiscal stewardship ethically, expertly, and free from further distraction or additional abuses of power. In short, the power of incumbency must not prevail over the people’s rightful demands for accountability.
We once again call on Auditor McGuiness to place the public’s interest ahead of her own and resign. Otherwise, the General Assembly must exercise its Constitutional powers and the Senate is prepared to lead the way.”