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Republicans bring new claims, call for investigation of Troy Kelley

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
September 26, 2012 6:52 pm

Whatever other conclusions one draws from the court documents that became public this month involving state Rep. Troy Kelley, they’re a window into the state auditor candidate’s complicated web of businesses and clients.

Putting aside all the alleged wrongdoing that Kelley denies, his document-tracking business clearly involved a head-spinning array of companies he owned making multimillion-dollar transfers of money to each other using multiple bank accounts in different states. He also had access to an account in Belize, a country known as a tax haven, that he said was set up for estate planning purposes and then closed.

State Republicans now argue that some of those convoluted arrangements don’t match up with what the Democrat has reported on financial disclosure forms to the state.

GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur announced today he has asked GOP Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office to investigate the alleged discrepancies. The process bypasses the campaign finance watchdogs at the Public Disclosure Commission and gives McKenna 45 days to investigate before Wilbur is allowed to file a lawsuit of his own. That deadline would come after the election.

The letter is posted here by Kelley’s Republican opponent, James Watkins.

Kelley’s disclosure forms are in some respects quite detailed, with disclosure of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets. Nonetheless, Wilbur alleges he has omitted or wrongly included key aspects of his business. Two examples out of many in the complaint:

  • That Wellington Trust, the entity that owned the Belize account, was not disclosed. Kelley’s campaign manager, Matt Miller, said Kelley didn’t directly own the now-shuttered trust so it didn’t need to be reported. Instead, it appears to have been removed by one or more layers from Kelley.
  • That the disclosures don’t mention Kelley’s insurance business. Insurance products were advertised on the website of Kelley’s now-closed company United National, which state records categorize under “insurance agencies and brokerages.” But Miller said insurance hasn’t brought Kelley any income since he became a legislator because no customers have bought that service.

The question about insurance is relevant because Kelley is vice-chairman of  a House committee that oversees the insurance industry.

“I think these accusations are more about Troy’s opponent’s character and campaign than anything else,” Miller said.

Watkins, for his part, put out a statement saying the complaint “exposes a multi-year pattern of hiding his financial and legal issues from voters.  It includes NEW allegations and multiple potential perjury violations.”

Candidates sign the disclosure forms under penalty of perjury.

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