House, Senate Democratic Leaders Call For Indicted Auditor McGuiness To Take Leave Of Absence

The leaders of the Delaware State Senate and State House Democratic Caucuses are encouraging State Auditor Kathy McGuiness to take a leave of absence as she faces criminal charges.

McGuiness was indicted Monday, and has claimed she is innocent of all charges.

The following statements were released by the Democratic Caucuses Wednesday evening:

Delaware Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola, Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, and Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman issued the following statement regarding Delaware Auditor Kathy McGuiness: 

“As elected officials, we swear an oath to place the public’s interests ahead of our own. 

The Office of the Delaware State Auditor of Accounts plays a paramount role in protecting the public’s interest, safeguarding taxpayer dollars, and ensuring good fiscal stewardship. 

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. 

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.” 

 House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Majority Whip Larry Mitchell issued the following joint statement: 

“The allegations against the state auditor are serious. If she is found guilty of the charges listed in the indictment, it would represent a breach of the public trust that would disqualify her from holding office. 

“While the Delaware Constitution specifies several pathways that can lead to the removal of statewide elected officials, speculating on a course of action would be inappropriate at this time. As the Attorney General stated, the investigation is ongoing and we do not wish to complicate, jeopardize or otherwise interfere with the investigatory process or the criminal proceedings that have been initiated. We will closely follow developments in this case and are keeping all constitutional options open and available. 

“However, we are concerned that the ongoing investigation and her legal defense will make it increasingly difficult for the auditor to effectively run an agency that is the watchdog of public funds. We believe it would be in the best interests of the auditor, her office and the residents of Delaware that she voluntarily take a leave of absence during these legal proceedings.”