Adam Edelen, former chief of staff to Gov. Steve Beshear, said Friday that he intends to seek the Democratic nomination for state auditor next year, as had been expected.
The current state auditor, Crit Luallen, is finishing her second term and legally cannot seek a third. The auditor examines how public money is spent; some of Luallen's audits have led to criminal prosecutions.
"In difficult economic times like these, hardworking Kentuckians expect a strong leader to fight corruption and waste head-on," Edelen said in a prepared statement.
"The auditor position requires someone with the courage to hold elected officials and powerful interests accountable to taxpayers. Not only will I do this, I will also use my business expertise to streamline state and local governments and maximize every taxpayer dollar," Edelen said.
Edelen, 35, who lives in Lexington, resigned as Beshear's chief of staff in September after more than two years. Before that, he served as Beshear's director of homeland security.
In 2009, the Herald-Leader reported that Edelen, Frankfort lobbyist Bob Babbage and Beshear appointee Ralph Coldiron were involved in real estate investments that Babbage had failed to disclose as required to state ethics officials.
Additionally, Coldiron — after complaining about his low pay — received a pay boost from the governor's office from $80,000 to $100,000 a year. That violated state law, because another entity — the Commercial Mobile Radio Service Board — was solely responsible for setting Coldiron's pay.
Following the Herald-Leader's stories, Coldiron resigned from state government, Babbage corrected his ethics disclosures, and Edelen and Babbage dissolved their business partnership. The state Republican Party demanded that Edelen resign at the time, but he did not.