Impeachment investigation should continue

The Student Government (SG) senate impeachment committee decided Monday to delay a decision in the investigation of charges against Attorney General Cordell Chavis.

Rather than deciding if an impeachment should be called for, the committee is contemplating the continuation of the investigation.

Though the committee wants clarification on former SG presidential candidate Christopher Leddy’s memo of impeachment – possibly for good reason – the circumstances are clear enough, and the investigation should not be delayed.

Leddy and former senator Richard Shockley called for Chavis to be impeached after he gave a legal opinion that supposedly contradicted SG statutes.

The election to fill 25 vacant senate seats that ends today was initially going to be overseen by SG senate President Jennifer Belmont, though SG statutes dictate that all elections must be monitored by the Election Rules Commission (ERC).

When Shockley questioned Belmont’s supervision at a senate meeting last month, Chavis issued a legal statement in his defense. He believed Belmont could oversee the election because the ERC was not in session.

At a Sept. 22 senate meeting, Leddy called for Chavis’ impeachment on the grounds of “incompetence” and “malfeasance.”

The three-member impeachment committee was formed two weeks ago to examine the memo and decide if it warranted further investigation, which is still in limbo.

Committee member Kelly Budnick said Leddy’s allegations of “incompetence” and “malfeasance” were not specific enough. SG statutes define malfeasance as the “commission of a wrongful or unlawful act involving or affecting the performance of one’s duties.”

Chavis issued a legal opinion that directly contradicted the SG laws – laws that he should be aware of as attorney general. Whether intentional or not, Chavis misled the senate on the legality of the election, which should be grounds enough for moving forward with the investigation.

The committee wants to interview Leddy and Shockley for clarification of the details of the memo – not to hear their argument. “This is strictly clarification of the memo, this is not to determine where both sides stand,” said committee chair Alicia Stott.

Investigating both sides is exactly what the committee should be doing. They should examine Shockley’s actions just as much as Chavis’. After all, it could be argued that Leddy has an agenda because he lost his senate seat after an election was ruled illegal.

Looking at both sides of the case, there is plenty to be investigated, and the committee should not keep dragging its feet.