Newly released emails show state Auditor Troy Kelley worked to find a job for a former business associate who is now tied to a federal investigation into Kelley’s previous business dealings.

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Within months of taking office in 2013, Democratic state Auditor Troy Kelley worked to find a job in the auditor’s office for a former business associate, newly released records show.

That employee, Jason JeRue — the subject of a federal grand- jury subpoena to the auditor’s office last month — had all but disappeared a couple of years earlier when an attorney for a former business client of Kelley’s sought to track him down during a contentious lawsuit.

But by March 2013, Kelley was making sure his office hired JeRue, with whom he’d worked at businesses going back to California in the 1990s.

“Troy asked me where we are with Jason yesterday,” Diane Perry, deputy director in the office, emailed Marie Davis, a human-resources manager, on March 5, 2013. She added that Kelley wanted JeRue to begin work “soon,” though he wouldn’t start until another auditor’s office manager found him “something to do.”

“I apologize — I know you are swamped with many other issues. This is not a high priority but eventually Troy is going to want Jason hired,” Perry’s email concluded.

Within days, JeRue was negotiating with auditor’s office staff on his job responsibilities and title. He eventually was brought on as a part-time technical writer.

The emails were among thousands of pages of records turned over March 19 by the auditor’s office to the U.S. Justice Department in response to a grand-jury subpoena. Copies of those records were released to The Seattle Times Tuesday after a public-records request.

The emails indicate the auditor’s office hired JeRue as a technical writer at $22 an hour without obtaining a writing sample, and that as a new employee he at times sought to keep a low profile.

In one email exchange on March 13, 2013 — two days after his official hire date — JeRue asked his supervisor, Laura Cameron, whether other employees would be able to see the revisions he made of their work during one of his first assignments.

“I only ask this question for confirmation that this is just a closed-door once-over that won’t be finding itself on anyone else’s desk or inbox,” JeRue wrote. “In short, I don’t want to ruffle any feathers.”

In her response, Cameron indicated she hadn’t had the opportunity to assess JeRue’s skill level before his employment.

“In the ordinary way of the world, I’d have asked you for a writing or rewrite sample before hiring, so I would have a sense of where your skills fit in our team,” Cameron wrote. “This is the same deal, post facto.”

In an unusual arrangement, JeRue — who also spelled his name Je Rue in some documents — was allowed to work from California, where he lives. According to records provided Tuesday by the state Office of Financial Management, the auditor’s office lists only one other employee working from another state.

The emails released Tuesday include no communications between JeRue and Kelley. Instead, many of JeRue’s interactions were with his supervisor, Matt Miller, deputy director for external affairs in the office. JeRue, who was paid $22,884 in 2014, worked on revising the office’s website, updating a list of media contacts and scanning the Internet for articles about audits conducted in other states.

JeRue did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. Kelley also has declined interview requests since news of the federal investigation into his prior business activities broke earlier in March.

Kelley has been asked to testify Wednesday before the state Senate Accountability and Reform Committee. But Kelley has given no indication he will attend the meeting. The panel now plans to discuss whether to use legislative subpoena authority.

Authorities have cast a wide net for records related to Kelley’s former escrow services business, Post Closing Department, where JeRue had worked. In a 2010 civil lawsuit, the firm and Kelley had been accused of fraud and tax evasion.

The lawsuit was settled under confidential terms.

In addition to subpoenaing records from his office, federal agents searched Kelley’s home for five hours earlier this month.

Justice Department officials have declined to confirm or deny any investigation or to comment on Kelley, who has not been charged with any crime.