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Member's Press Release

Release Date: 01/02/2014
Contact: House Speaker - (304) 347-3210 / Senate President - (304) 357-7801

President Kessler Speaker Miley

Legislative Auditor Finds Suspicious Activity Within WV Dept. of Agriculture

SENATE PRESIDENT KESSLER AND HOUSE SPEAKER MILEY ORDERED INFORMATION TURNED OVER TO US ATTORNEY

CHARLESTON - After learning of findings of suspicious activity within a legislative audit of the Department of Agriculture, Senate President Jeff Kessler and House Speaker Tim Miley ordered the Legislative Auditor to turn over the information to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Upon being elected to the office of Agriculture Commissioner, Walt Helmick requested the legislative auditor to perform an audit of the Department. That is a pretty standard request, as it gives a newly elected office holder a perspective from which to begin operating and managing the agency,” Speaker Miley said. “To date, the audit has revealed very troubling activities and management practices by the Agriculture Department's previous administration, including questionable accounting methods, expense reimbursements and loans administered by the agency.

"When these preliminary findings were brought to the attention of Senate President Kessler and myself, we ordered our Legislative Auditor to immediately turn the information over to the U.S. Attorney's office. Commissioner Helmick supported our decision 100%.

“Neither President Kessler, Commissioner Helmick, nor I tolerate any activities that lack integrity or violate the public trust. We will continue to provide law enforcement with any information necessary to assist in its investigation. Meanwhile, as we await completion of the audit, President Kessler and I will be working with Commissioner Helmick to facilitate any legislative changes necessary to ensure greater accountability and to tighten statutory controls over the activities identified in the audit."


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