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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Federal Agents Search Washington State Auditor's Home, Subpoena Office

Washington State Auditor's Office
Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley in a photo his office posted to social media January 16, 2015.

Monday morning in Tacoma Troy Kelley's neighbors heard a knock on the Washington state auditor's door. Agents of the U.S. Treasury Department announced themselves, entered through the front door and searched his home for about five hours. Kelley's office submitted documents in response to a federal subpoena Thursday.

Kelley said in a brief emailed statement that he’s out of state with his family on vacation. He said he was not at his home when it was searched and that he hasn’t been served a search warrant or been informed of any reason for a search. Thomas Shapley, a spokesperson for the state auditor's office, said the subpoena of the office was served March 6.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle says it is the policy of the Department of Justice to neither confirm nor deny the existence of investigation unless or until a case is filed in court.
Kelley is a Democrat who has been state auditor since 2013. Prior to that he was a state lawmaker. During his campaign for auditor Kelley denied that he had committed fraud and theft, allegations made in lawsuits relating to his work in the real estate title and escrow business.

Court records show that in 2008 Kelley executed a series of wire transfers that resulted in nearly $4 million being moved to an account linked to an offshore account in Belize. At the time Kelley said all of his accounting and estate planning decisions were fully compliant with the law.

Kelley has maintained a relatively low profile as state auditor. In a recent annual report he called his first two years in office a time of “change and accomplishment.” Shapley said he did not believe the subpoena of the auditor's office was related to Kelley's public work as auditor.

The Washington State Republican Party called Thursday for Kelley to resign his office. Shapley said resignation has not been discussed.
"If you’re asking if there’s been a conversation between him and me regarding his staying in office," Shapley said, "absolutely not.”
Kelley's neighbor Cassandra Hafen says agents swarmed their Tacoma street Monday.

"You could just hear banging on the door," she said. "'Police! Open up!' And nobody opened up so they breached the door and everyone went in."

Hafen pointed out black tarps agents put in Kelley's upstairs windows were still up, blocking the inside from view.

Kelley did not answer when a reporter knocked on his door Thursday. His office says he's still on vacation with his family in California.

Editor's note: this story has been updated since it was first published.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."