The full Delaware Senate will reconvene in special session Monday, July 25, to consider a resolution that would give the state auditor notice of an upcoming hearing on her removal.
If passed by both House and Senate, Senate Concurrent Resolution 128 would provide State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness with notice that a legislative hearing will be held on her removal from office under the Delaware Constitution. McGuiness is the first elected official to ever be charged and convicted of a crime while still in office. She was found guilty by a Kent County Superior Court jury July 1 on misdemeanor counts of official misconduct, conflict of interest and violation of state procurement law. McGuiness’ attorney Steve Wood has filed for a new trial and made a motion for acquittal of those charges.
McGuiness, a Democrat elected in 2018, is running for re-election this year despite repeated calls by Democrat leadership for her to step down. McGuiness faces a Democrat challenger, Lydia York, in a Sept. 13 primary.
Following the announcement of the special session, Senate Republicans issued a statement saying the concurrent resolution and special session to consider it are premature, agreeing with Gov. John Carney who is awaiting a final determination by the court before he takes action on McGuiness’ removal.
“Our caucus maintains the same position that we did when the initial, and later withdrawn, charges were announced: Auditor McGuiness is entitled to due process,” the statement reads. “The continued push for removal prior to the conclusion of a criminal trial is troubling and strikes at the bedrock principal of the presumption of innocence.”
Republicans continued to say that Superior Court Judge William Carpenter has yet to enter the verdict of the jury in the trial. Multiple motions by McGuiness’ defense attorney Steve Wood remain open, including those to dismiss the charges altogether and for a new trial. Until those rulings by the trial judge are made, Republicans said the General Assembly should not be entertaining the idea of removing a duly elected official.
“As is the case with any citizen of this state, the auditor has the absolute right to due process as guaranteed in the United States Constitution,” read the statement signed by Minority Caucus Leader Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View; Minority Whip Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown; Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover; Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel; Sen. Ernie López, R-Lewes; Sen. Bryant Richardson, R-Seaford; and Sen. Dave Wilson, R-Bridgeville.
The special hearing will be held at 3 p.m., July 25, in the Senate Chambers of Legislative Hall in Dover.