OpinionMeister

Saturday, February 05, 2005

CA Secretary of State Resigns

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley is resigning. Link.
Kevin Shelley resigned as California's secretary of state Friday, admitting that the growing scrutiny over his questionable campaign fund- raising, alleged misuse of federal voting funds and admittedly volcanic temper left him unable to do the job he assumed two years ago.

"It has become clear to me that the tides of this storm are overtaking this office's ability to function effectively,'' Shelley told reporters in front of his Glen Park home shortly after 4 p.m. "Therefore, it is with my deepest personal regret that I resign the office of secretary of state, effective March 1.'' (...)

The intense scrutiny of Shelley began in August when The Chronicle reported that $125,000 from a state grant appeared to have been illegally diverted into his 2002 campaign account. Since then, state investigations have concluded that he mismanaged federal voting act funds and that Shelley's explosive temper created a hostile work environment for subordinates.

This may not have gotten much notice in the national press, but it is an important story whenever an elected official is made to face consequences for treating taxpayer funds as a personal piggy bank. It seems that the fall of a public official is usually because of a sexual indiscretion, but it is far more important to get rid of the crooks than the moral lepers. The dictum "power corrupts" will always be with us, so this sort of scrutiny is very important. We owe the San Francisco Chronicle a "Thank You" for getting the ball rolling on this one.

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