Delaware House will not debate auditor removal Monday

By Craig Anderson
Posted 10/28/21

DOVER — A proposed resolution calling on Gov. John Carney to remove indicted State Auditor Kathy McGuiness from office will not be heard next week, a House of Representatives spokesman said Thursday.

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Delaware House will not debate auditor removal Monday

Posted

DOVER — A proposed resolution calling on Gov. John Carney to remove indicted State Auditor Kathy McGuiness from office will not be heard next week, a House of Representatives spokesman said Thursday.

The decision came after House attorneys from both the Democratic and Republican caucuses collaborated to review the call for the ouster from Reps. Madinah Wilson-Anton, D-Newark, and Mike Smith, R-Pike Creek, according to Joe Fulgham, speaking on behalf of the House Republican caucus.

On Oct. 11, Ms. McGuiness was indicted on five charges, including two felonies, regarding alleged misconduct in office. She pleaded not guilty to all of them.

Reps. Wilson-Anton and Smith issued a letter and draft resolution Oct. 22, maintaining that as long as Ms. McGuiness is “connected” to the office, it would be “unable to operate effectively and with the full faith of the public.”

The representatives hoped to have the matter introduced during a House special session Nov. 1.

However, Rep. Wilson-Anton said, “After talking to multiple members of my caucus, and after Mike spoke with members of his, we don’t have the votes to move the resolution forward.

“Some legislators say they don’t know enough about the issue to take a side. Others said they’re worried about giving her due process. Others said they wanted to focus on redistricting,” she said.

According to Mr. Fulgham, it was determined that:

  • “The resolution was proposed in the wrong form. It should not have been proposed as a simple resolution, (requiring the approval of a single chamber). The removal process requires both legislative chambers to act ... and it should have been written as a joint resolution (requiring the approval of both chambers and the signature of the governor).”
  • “The provisions of the state constitution dealing with the removal process require a minimum of 10-days prior notification from the General Assembly to the impacted officeholder. This threshold was not met. The resolution was never introduced in the General Assembly. Since the measure was never before the legislature, no notice was ever issued.”
  • “There are no existing legislative protocols, providing appropriate due process, for removing an elected official from office. Also, according to the findings, ‘To the best of our knowledge, an elected official has never been removed from office in Delaware using this constitutional provision.’”

According to Rep. Wilson-Anton, Ms. McGuiness’ attorney “responded saying there wasn’t ‘reasonable cause,’ which is a joke argument.”

Also, she said that “House leadership put out a statement to the press saying the notification requirement wasn’t met, which was also silly.”

On Tuesday, Gov. Carney’s spokesman, Jon Starkey, issued a statement that said, “Obviously, the auditor is facing very serious charges that she’ll have to answer in court. Removal of an elected official through the General Assembly is a constitutional process that the governor potentially has a role in. For that reason, we don’t have any additional comment at this time.”

Rep. Wilson-Anton said Thursday that she had not received a response from Gov. Carney.

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