The FBI has been investigating State Auditor Stacey Pickering’s campaign finance records since at least March, multiple sources, including one of his former campaign staffers, confirmed.
It appears investigators are looking into his campaign’s purchase of a car, a recreational vehicle and a garage door and into reimbursements for thousands of dollars in non-itemized travel to himself and others during off campaign years and whether he reported or paid taxes on personal spending from campaign funds.
Pickering says he has “had no conversation with the FBI on this matter” and his office continues to work joint investigations with the federal agency. He accuses his primary opponent, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, of spreading “nasty innuendo and insinuation” and called his former staffer “disgruntled” and said she’s working for Butler.
Tiffany Parrish worked as a fundraiser on Pickering’s first, successful run for state auditor in 2007, and left shortly thereafter. Parrish said she was surprised when FBI agents recently showed her that a BMW 325i she sold Pickering in 2011 was listed on his campaign finance report as a “fundraising fee expense” instead of a car.
The FBI would neither confirm nor deny an investigation.
Parrish said agents have asked her numerous questions about the car and other Pickering campaign spending and staff. She said they also inquired about a couple of auditor’s office no-bid contracts that have raised questions in the past. Parrish said agents first contacted her in March, met with her in person later and have followed up with numerous questions through recent weeks. She declined detailed comment on the FBI’s questions. “Due to the ongoing investigation, I am unable to talk about it,” she said.