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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Indicted state Auditor Troy Kelley might have pay withheld during voluntary leave

Rachel La Corte Associated Press

OLYMPIA – A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday they believe the state has the authority to withhold pay from indicted state Auditor Troy Kelley, based on legal advice received from the state attorney general’s office.

Kelley has resisted calls to resign but plans to take a leave of absence starting May 1. His current salary is $116,950 a year.

Inslee spokesman David Postman said given the unprecedented circumstances, the analysis provided Thursday “is somewhat uncertain,” but he said they still believe they can withhold pay because Kelley is taking voluntary leave during which he will not perform the duties of his office.

“At this point we don’t know whether Mr. Kelley hopes to be paid while not working,” Postman wrote in an email. “The best option would be for him to decline to take the paycheck given that he won’t be doing the job he was elected to do.”

A spokesman for the auditor’s office said Kelley had also received legal guidance from the attorney general’s office on the issue Thursday and was reviewing it. Mark Firmani, a personal spokesman for Kelley, said he was not yet aware of when Kelley may speak on his plans concerning pay.

Kelley was indicted by a federal grand jury last week and pleaded not guilty to 10 felony counts. The indictment charged him with filing false tax returns, attempting to obstruct a lawsuit and possessing more than $1 million in stolen property related to his former business.

The most serious charge carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A felony conviction would automatically force Kelley from office. A petition to recall Kelley from office has been filed with the secretary of state.

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