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Auditor Troy Kelley responds to governor’s questions

by caprecord

Updated 4:30 p.m. April 1:

State Auditor Troy Kelley responded to questions from Gov. Jay Inslee‘s office late Wednesday regarding how the State Auditor’s Office is handling a federal investigation into his past business, and an employee of his office.

Kelley told the governor that he has removed himself from official action regarding the investigation.

“As is our standard practice the subject of any request for information is removed from any involvement in the preparation and production of that request,” he said. “I was removed form the process and that situation has not changed, just as I am removed from the process of responding to public records requests from the news media on this topic.”

He said the inquiries have not affected the office operations.

“In fact, members of our leadership team report messages of support and confidence in the job the Office is doing,” Kelley writes.

Kelley also provided information on Jason JeRue, the employee who reports say is part of the investigation.

Read the governor’s questions for Kelley and Kelley’s response to Inslee.

Original story:

The Senate Accountability and Reform Committee and Gov. Jay Inslee are seeking answers from state Auditor Troy Kelley, whose office and business dealings have been under federal investigation since the beginning of March.

State Auditor Troy Kelley
State Auditor Troy Kelley

Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way, invited Kelley to his Wednesday committee, but Kelley was a no-show.

Miloscia ran for state auditor in 2012 as a Democrat, but lost to Kelley in the Democratic primary.

“I have been especially concerned about his decision to go in hiding from the media, the public and now the legislature,” Miloscia said. “All elected officials must be accountable to the public that is our responsibility and our duty.”

The committee meeting included a work session on the ethical standards in the Auditor’s office, and an overview of Legislative Subpoena authority.

Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, said the legislature should be cautious on the issue.

“As much as we all want answers, I believe the state legislature’s role at this point is to step aside and not interfere with the federal investigation,” she said. “And I believe we risk politicizing an issue that is of utmost importance to the citizens of the state of Washington.”

Federal investigators have been gathering information on Kelley’s former real estate services company in California and on Jason JeRue, an employee at the state Auditor’s office. Jerue worked with Kelley at the former company.

Inslee told reporters Wednesday that he also wants answers from Kelley, and sent a formal request for information about the investigation and about Jerue.

“I think we need to do what we can to make sure the law is followed and make sure the public has confidence in the auditor’s office. I think one thing that’s for sure the auditor should answer questions that I’ve asked in writing,” he said.

Inslee says the state constitution allows him to require a response from Kelley. The letter gives the auditor until April 6 to reply.