Troy Kelley

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Troy Kelley
Troy Kelley.jpg
Washington Auditor
In office
January 16, 2013-present
Term ends
Years in position 2
PredecessorBrian Sonntag (D)
Base salary$116,950
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$1,559,219
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Washington House of Representatives District 28a
Bachelor'sUniversity of California, Berkeley
Master'sState University of New York - Buffalo School of Management
J.D.State University of New York - Buffalo School of Law
Military service
Service/branchU.S. National Guard
Office website
Campaign website
Troy Kelley is the current Democratic Washington State Auditor. He was first elected in 2012 and sworn in on January 16, 2013. Prior to becoming state auditor, Kelley served three terms as a member of the Washington House of Representatives representing District 28.

Kelley is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation related to his work with a company called Post Closing Department. He was indicted on 10 charges and announced a leave of absence effective May 1, 2015. Learn more about the case and indictment by clicking here.


Kelley currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Washington National Guard. He led regulatory audit teams for the Securities and Exchange Commission and worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor. He was previously a professor and associate editor for the Military Law Review at the Judge Advocate Generals School.[1][2]

Kelley holds a J.D. from the State University of New York-Buffalo School of Law. He also holds an MBA from the State University of New York-Buffalo School of Management and a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.[1]

Political career

Washington State Auditor (2013-present)

Kelley was sworn in as state auditor on January 16, 2013. He succeeded fellow Democrat Brian Sonntag.

Federal investigation and recall effort

See also: State Auditor recall, Washington (2015)

Former state legislator Will Knedlik filed paperwork with the secretary of state's office on April 3, 2015, to remove Kelley from office. This recall effort stems in part from a federal investigation of Kelley's past business dealings.[3]

Kelley and department employee Jason JeRue became entangled in a federal grand jury investigation into past business dealings in March 2015. A subpoena issued by the jury on March 5 sought emails between Kelley and JeRue related to Post Closing Department, an escrow firm previously owned by Kelley accused of withholding $1.2 million in refunds from a former client. Kelley denied any connection to the firm's actions and agreed to a settlement to resolve the case in 2011. Federal treasury agents searched Kelley's home as part of the investigation on March 16. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) called on Kelley to recuse himself from official duties dealing with the case but did not ask for his resignation. State Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) asked for greater transparency, saying, "The people and voters of this state deserve an explanation so we can understand the reason for these events and be able to make our own decisions about what it means or choose to investigate further. This must happen very quickly if we’re going to keep public trust in our government."[4]

Kelley's office handed over 53 emails from his office email account sent between January 1 and March 19, though none of these emails involved JeRue. State Rep. Dan Kristiansen (R) expressed skepticism that Kelley and JeRue had not maintained contact given their longstanding friendship, saying, "You'd think there would be communiques they exchange in the course of operations, the way we all live now." Kelley and JeRue met in the late 1990s and the auditor hired JeRue as a part-time technical writer following his election in 2012.[5]

Grand jury indictment

See the full text of the indictment here

On April 16, 2015, the federal grand jury indicted Kelley on 10 charges including possession of stolen property, four counts of false declaration and attempted obstruction of civil lawsuit related to his tenure as owner of Post Closing Department. The indictment also concluded that Kelley hid $2,581,653 in funds from the Internal Revenue Service. Kelley pleaded not guilty to the charges but announced in a statement that he would take a leave of absence on May 1 to mount his legal defense.[6] Gov. Inslee made the following statement after announcement of the indictment:

This indictment today makes it clear to me that Troy Kelley cannot continue as state auditor. He should resign immediately. An appointee can restore confidence in the office and assure the public that the Office of the State Auditor will operate at the high standards required of the post. [7]

The Seattle Times, (2015) [6]

Kelley will appear before U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton on May 8. If Kelley resigns, Inslee would appoint a replacement though the length of an appointee's term would depend on the timing of the resignation. The first day to file declarations of candidacy for Washington's 2015 elections is May 11. A resignation prior to May 11 would lead to a special election in November 2015 for the remainder of Kelley's term ending January 2017. If a resignation takes place after May 11, Inslee's appointee would serve until the next general election in November 2016. Kelley would be forced by state law to resign office if he is convicted of a felony.[6][8]

State House (2007-2013)

Committee assignments


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Kelley served on the following committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Kelley served on the following committees:



See also: Washington down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Kelley won election as Washington State Auditor in 2012.[9] He faced fellow state representative Mark Miloscia (D), State Senator Craig Pridemore (D) and James Watkins (R) in the blanket primary on August 7. Kelly and Watkins moved on to the general election.[10][11] Kelley defeated Watkins in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Washington State Auditor General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTroy Kelley 52.9% 1,512,620
     Republican James Watkins 47.1% 1,344,137
Total Votes 2,856,757
Election Results via Washington Secretary of State.

Washington Auditor, Primary, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJames Watkins 46.1% 584,444
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTroy Kelley 23% 291,335
     Democratic Craig Pridemore 21.2% 268,220
     Democratic Mark Miloscia 9.8% 123,936
Total Votes 1,267,935
Election Results via Washington Secretary of State (dead link)'


Troy Kelley was endorsed by:

  • The Seattle Times[12]
  • The Stranger[13]
  • Washington State Council of Firefighters[14]
  • Public School Employees of Washington[14]
  • Washington Education Association[14]
  • Fraternal Order of Police[15]
  • American Federation of Teachers[14]
  • SEIU 775[14]
  • SEIU 1199[14]
  • SEIU 925[14]
  • Equal Rights Washington[14]
  • Teamsters' Joint Council #23[14]
  • Fuse Washington[14]


During his 2012 campaign for state auditor, Kelley's opponent James Watkins published court documents from lawsuits Kelley was involved in. The records were posted on a website which was set up by the Watkins campaign to discredit Kelley.[12] In 2010, Watkins employed the same strategy during his unsuccessful congressional campaign against 2012 gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, the website then titled Watkins' argument that Kelley was ethically unfit for the state auditor job, as exhibited on the website and in a September 27th endorsement interview with The Seattle Times (the Times endorsed Kelley for the general election)[16] was a lawsuit from 2010 wherein one of Kelley's former clients, a title insurance group called Old Republic Title which hired Kelley’s firm "to handle some of the back-end mechanics of closing a real estate transaction," accused Kelley of misappropriating roughly $1.2 million in customer fees. The Times called Watkins tactics "mean-spirited" and endorsed Kelley because of concerns on how Watkins would run an office handling sensitive information about public agencies.[17] The lawsuit was filed for a "breach of contract." No criminal charges were ever filed.[18][19][20] During the deposition, attorney for the plaintiffs Scott Smith brought up a series of wire transfers to that Kelley had authorized in 2008. Financial records obtained by subpoena revealed that Kelley held an offshore account in Belize, to which Kelley had linked an account. This account was closed after existing for about a year, and only maintained the minimum balance (less than $5,000). Kelley stated that California tax attorney Alan Eber, whom he hired for estate planning services, was responsible for the account in Belize. Kelley said that when he discovered the existence of the offshore account, he closed it, although his signature appears on international wire paperwork establishing the link to the Belize account. Kelley defended that the Old Republic case, which was settled for an undisclosed amount, as a routine, "nuisance lawsuits," an occupational hazard of handling property funds compounded by the mortgage crisis.[16] “All of my accounting and estate planning decisions ... have been fully compliant with the law. Any assertion or implication to the contrary is simply incorrect.”[19]


See also: Washington State House of Representatives elections, 2010

Troy Kelley was re-elected to the Washington House of Representatives District 28a. He was unopposed in the August 17, 2010 primary. He defeated Republican Steve O'Ban in the November 2, 2010 general election.[21]

Washington House of Representatives, District 28a General Election (2010)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Troy Kelley (D) 21,347
Steve O'Ban (R) 19,026
Washington House of Representatives, District 28a Primary (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Troy Kelley (D) 12,056 50.26%
Green check mark transparent.png Steve O'Ban (R) 11,932 49.74%


On November 4, 2008, Democrat Troy Kelley won re-election to the Washington House of Representatives, District 28 receiving 60.2 percent of the vote (28,591 votes), defeating Republican Dave Dooley who received 39.8 percent of the vote (18,906 votes).[22]

Washington House of Representatives, District 28(2008)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Troy Kelley (D) 28,591 60.20%
Dave Dooley (R) 18,906 39.80%

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Kelley is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Kelley raised a total of $747,553 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 7, 2013.[23]

Troy Kelley's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 WA House of Representatives Not up for election $71,981
2010 WA House of Representatives Won $180,633
2008 WA House of Representatives Won $189,340
2006 WA House of Representatives Won $305,599
Grand Total Raised $747,553


Kelley won election to the position of Washington State Auditor in 2012. During that election cycle, Kelley raised a total of $711,666.


In 2010, a year in which Kelley was up for re-election, he collected $280,633 in donations.[24]

His largest contributors in 2010 were:


Listed below are the five largest contributors to Troy Kelley's 2008 campaign.

Donor Amount
Washington State Democratic Party $21,342
Troy X. Kelley $17,200
House Democratic Campaign CMTE of Washington $9,113
28th Legislative District Democratic Victory Fund $3,000
Washington State Council of Police & Sheriffs $2,400


Freedom Foundation


See also: Washington Freedom Foundation Legislative Scorecard

The Freedom Foundation, a Washington State-based research and educational organization committed to the principles of individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government, issued its 2012 Informed Voter Guide for Washington State voters, including a legislative score card documenting how Washington State legislators voted upon bills the Foundation deemed important legislation.[25] The legislation chosen by the Foundation covered budget, taxation, and pension issues. The guide also included a compilation and ranking of all tax and fee increases proposed by each Senate and House members' proposed legislation, as required by Washington law.[26]

The Foundation's research guide provided a collection of nonpartisan information involving the voting records of state legislators on key issues related to the budget, taxation, and pension reform. Such legislation included:

  • Bill 6636 (Balanced budgets): The bill would have required a balanced budget plan to be achieved within four years. The House bill, which became law, required a balanced budget as long as the spending was not 4.5% larger than the previous year's budget, regardless of revenue intake.
  • Bill 5967 (Senate Republican and House Democrats budgets): The Senate version of the bill would have reduced spending and keep a $501 million reserve, but with a skipped $143 million payment to the state's pension fund. A House version of the bill would have postponed a payment to public schools and leave less for the state's reserves. The bill did not become law, although a compromise bill eventually did.
  • Bill 6582 (Local Transportation Tax Increases): This bill doubles the "car tab" fee that most cities can impose on vehicle owners, from $20 to $40. It also allows counties to impose a motor vehicle excise tax (this requires a vote of the people), changes the limit on local gas taxes in a way that slightly reduces the top rate, and allows Seattle to impose an additional gas tax (this would also require a public vote). The bill became law.
  • Bill 6378 (Pension reforms): The bill, introduced by Sen. Joseph Zarelli would have closed older, more expensive state pension plans for new hires and have new state employees join a newer pension plan. Also included in the bill is a mandatory reduction in pension payouts to those employees who take early retirement, based on the cost to the pension fund. The Senate voted upon the bill, along with a House vote on an amended version of the bill that did not include as much cost saving but eventually became law.

A Approveda sign indicates a bill more in line with the Foundation's stated goals, and a Defeatedd sign indicates a bill out of step with the Foundation's values. Here's how Kelley voted on the specific pieces of legislation:

2012 House Scorecard - Troy Kelley
Bill #6636 (Balanced budget requirement)Approveda Bill #5967 (House Democrats budget)Defeatedd Bill #6582 (Local transportation tax increases)Defeatedd Bill #6378 (Pension reforms)Approveda


Kelley and his wife, Diane, have two children.[2]

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See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Project Vote Smart - Rep. Kelley
  2. 2.0 2.1 Washington State Auditor's Office: "About Troy Kelley," accessed November 11, 2013
  3. Peninsula Daily Times, "Former legislator files recall papers on Washington state auditor," April 4, 2015
  4. Q13 Fox, "Federal subpoena of State Auditor Troy Kelley’s office seeks records of employee," March 20, 2015
  5. Greenfield Reporter, "State: No emails between Auditor Troy Kelley and employee who is longtime associate," April 2, 2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Seattle Times, "Auditor Troy Kelley indicted by feds, pleads not guilty," April 16, 2015
  7. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  8. Washington State Legislature, "RCW 42.12.040 Vacancy in partisan elective office — Successor elected — When," accessed April 16, 2015
  9. Lakewood Patch, "Troy Kelley to Run For State Auditor," April 12, 2012
  10. Washington Secretary of State, "2012 primary candidates," accessed May 18, 2012
  11. Washington Secretary of State, "August 07, 2012 Primary Results," accessed August 9, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Seattle Times Editorial," "Seattle Times Endorses Troy Kelley for Auditor," October 14, 2012
  13. "The Stranger's Endorsements," October 16, 2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.9 "Progressive Voter's Guide," accessed October 26, 2012
  15. "Troy Kelley's Homepage," accessed 10/26/2012 (timed out)
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Seattle Times, "Watkins, Kelley trade personal attacks in animated endorsement interview," September 27, 2012
  17. The Seattle Times, In blistering campaign for auditor, Troy Kelley has the edge, October 14, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 NPR news, "Wash. state auditor candidate wired millions, linked account to Belize," accessed October 10, 2012
  20. Old Republic National Title Insurance Company: "About Us," accessed November 11, 2013
  21. Washington Legislature Official primary results SOS
  22. Washington State Election Results
  23. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Troy Kelley," accessed May 7, 2013
  24. Follow the Money, "2010 campaign contributions," accessed December 19, 2014
  25. Freedom Foundation, "Legislative Voting Record," accessed October 10, 2013
  26. Freedom Foundation, "Big Spender List," accessed October 10, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Sonntag (D)
Washington Auditor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Washington House of Representatives District 28
Succeeded by
Steve O'Ban (R)