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Stokesbary concerned about auditor’s media silence

From the Auburn Reporter:

Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, is concerned about State Auditor Troy Kelley’s unwillingness to address media inquiries regarding the ongoing investigation of his former business practices and those of a member of the auditor’s staff.

Late last week, Kelley released information regarding a subpoena issued by a federal grand jury, but his office has since stated they will no longer address questions regarding the investigation.

“I appreciate that the auditor’s office publicly released the subpoena last week, but am extremely concerned that his office has announced it will no longer respond to questions involving the federal investigation,” said Stokesbary. “I am reluctant to call on the auditor to step aside before all the facts in his case are known. But he has a responsibility to the citizens of Washington to explain why federal agents are searching his home and office.

“If he continues to refuse to answer these legitimate questions, then he should step down – not because he is necessarily guilty, but because he has lost the public’s trust in his ability to oversee the very office tasked with maintaining trust in government.”

Lawmakers in Olympia will begin hearings on the 2015-17 budget in the coming days. Stokesbary, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, raised concerns last week about the possible liability and costs the state may have due to a federal investigation involving the auditor and members of his staff.

“The House budget is scheduled to be released and voted out of committee this week, and legislators need to know quickly what financial contingencies involving the auditor’s office may arise,” Stokesbary said. “It’s my hope that the auditor is forthcoming with the people he serves about his knowledge of this investigation and acts in the best interest of Washington state. I believe this process should begin by Auditor Kelley appearing before the Senate Accountability and Reform Committee on April 1.”

The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 26.

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