Politics & Government

Disclosure sought for politicians who are suspects

A state lawmaker wants to force politicians who learn they are suspects in a criminal investigation to publicly disclose that fact.

A grand-jury investigation involving State Auditor Troy Kelley prompted the proposal in the state Senate.

Kelley has known of the federal probe for at least two years, according to a lawyer who said he notified the auditor in April 2013, but the public didn’t learn of it until Treasury Department agents searched Kelley’s Tacoma house last month.

Kelley has not been charged with any crime.

Sen. Steve O’Ban filed a bill Wednesday requiring statewide elected officials and candidates for those jobs to annually report whether they know of any criminal investigation targeting them.

As a state House member, Democrat Kelley fended off a challenge from Tacoma Republican O’Ban in 2010.

Voters statewide elect nine executive-branch officials and nine state Supreme Court justices. The bill doesn’t apply to lawmakers, but O’Ban said he wants to subject them to disclosure, too.

The bill is a long shot to become law this year. Deadlines to advance non-budget bills have already passed.

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