State Auditor Troy Kelley is the latest example of the questionable, shady behavior of far too many elected Democrats in Washington State. His alleged corrupt activities are made all the more egregious due to the job voters entrusted to him. As State Auditor, Kelley is “supposed to be the people’s agent to root out and shine the spotlight on fraud and financial abuse in state and local government.” Now, he is “the target of an apparent criminal tax-fraud investigation.”
Making matter worse, he continues to hide from the public and refuses to “answer legitimate questions about a federal raid on his house last week.” Kelley insists that he does not know any details surrounding the federal investigation, a claim that is more than a little hard to believe.
“Kelley deserves the presumption of innocence in the criminal investigation. But as an elected official, he has put himself in an untenable position: leading the state office whose only duty is accountability, while evading accountability himself.
If he is going to remain credible as auditor, he must make a public accounting. He needs to stop hiding in his office. Release records his office turned over to federal agents. He should answer as many questions as he can.
“That might be enough to quell questions about his ability to be the state’s fraud watchdog-in-chief. It might not.
“If he continues to give the public the silent treatment, he should resign…
“He must decide whether he is going to prioritize an apparent criminal defense strategy, in which he remains quiet, or his public duties.
“This is his mess, and his choice: Come clean, or quit.”
As Shift reported, evidence based on lawsuits over the past decade involving Kelley and business associates link the current state auditor to misappropriation of $3.8 million from mortgage borrowers, money laundering, tax evasion, and even burglary. Additionally, a subpoena released by the Auditor’s office reveals that federal investigators are looking into financial activities related to Kelley’s former real estate transaction business in California, The Post Closing Department. Specifically, the U.S. Attorney is looking into Jason Jerue, a California man and former colleague of Kelley.
The fact that Jerue has worked as a contractor for the state Auditor’s office since 2013 strengthens the Kelley-Jerue link. Kelley assumed office in 2013.
To the frustration of new outlets throughout the state, Kelley continues to refuse to answer questions relating to his involvement in the federal investigation. On Monday, Kelley insisted that he “remains puzzled” by it. He denied knowing “why a federal grand jury is interested in his former real estate services company.”
Of course, it is not possible that Kelley does not know the reason for a federal investigation that has been happening for weeks—an investigation that resulted in a search of his home and subpoena of his office records. As the Seattle Times insists, it’s about time Kelley come clean or resign.
The only thing to add is this, if Kelley knows that the federal investigation will inevitably result in his resignation, he should not waste the time of Washingtonians and do it now. Certainly, Kelley should resign in time to allow candidates to file for a special election (May 11th is the deadline). Corrupt Democrats—like former Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon—all too often deliberately wait until after the deadline, giving their appointee more time in office.