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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Gov. Inslee Urges Indicted State Auditor To Resign

Washington State Auditor's Office
The U.S. Attorney's office for Western Washington announced Thursday morning that a federal grand jury has indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.

On Thursday morning, embattled Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley called Democratic Governor Jay Inslee -- right around the time the U.S. Attorney’s office for Western Washington announced Kelley’s indictment.

A federal grand jury indicted Kelley on charges of filing false tax returns, making false statements, obstruction and theft.

Inslee later told reporters that he urged Kelley to "resign immediately."

"These things can drag on for years at times,” Inslee said. “Recognizing that, we have to have an auditor. We have to have an auditor with the full confidence of the people. Those conditions do not exist right now.”

Inslee said Kelley replied that he would not resign, but rather take a leave of absence starting in May.

The governor can only appoint a replacement for Kelley if there is a vacancy, which a leave of absence does not create.

If convicted, Kelley could face decades in federal prison.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.