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Government and Politics
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."

Troy Kelley Says Paycheck 'Not A Factor' In Return To Office

Washington State Auditor's Office
File photo. Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley returned from an unpaid leave of absence this week.

Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley says money was “not a factor” in his decision to return to work this week. Kelley had been on unpaid leave of absence for the past seven months pending his federal trial.

The reason Kelley has given for his sudden return to work is that some lawmakers want to impeach him for abandoning his office. Kelley faces hefty legal defense costs to defend against a federal indictment relating to his past business practices.

But the first-term Democrat says financial considerations did not compel his return to work. He points to other elected officials who also kept working while under indictment -- including a current U.S. senator and a former one who later died.

“Sen. Robert Menendez has not taken a leave of absence. Sen. Ted Stevens did not take a leave of absence,” Kelley noted. “Of course now I’m being impeached solely, I’ll say solely, for taking a leave of absence.”

Kelley said because of the impeachment effort he likely won’t interact with the legislature -- leaving that job to others in his office. He said he’ll focus more on internal matters.