Troy Kelley’s campaign self-funding questioned

Troy Kelley spent $500,000 of his own money campaigning for state auditor in 2012.

His reliance on personal wealth took on a new significance after a federal grand jury indicted Kelley April 15 on charges including possession and concealment of more than $1.4 million of stolen money. It’s part of more than $2.9 million in fees that prosecutors claim Kelley improperly failed to refund to business customers between 2006 and 2008.

Asked if the questioned income flowed to the campaign, Kelley’s attorneys told reporters they hadn’t yet traced the money in the case against him.

“That will be part of our defense,” lawyer Mark Bartlett said at a news conference April 16. “We will go through the same forensic-type work that the government did over this two-three year investigation.”

On Wednesday, state Republican Party chairwoman Susan Hutchison formally asked state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to investigate whether Kelley concealed the source of the money in campaign-finance disclosure paperwork. Kelley and Ferguson are Democrats.

“If the charges in the indictment are accurate, then it appears that some portion of his $499,800.00 contribution may consist of money that was illegally obtained, a fact Kelley failed to disclose in his PDC (Public Disclosure Commission) filings,” Hutchison wrote to Ferguson.

Hutchison told the attorney general that if he doesn’t act, her party could bring a citizen-action complaint against Kelley. However, state law allows for such actions for just two years after an alleged violation of campaign law, and that clock may have run out.

Kelley, then a state lawmaker, defeated Democrats Craig Pridemore and Mark Miloscia and Republican James Watkins in the 2012 election for the open auditor’s position. He outspent all three rivals combined.