State Auditor Stacey Pickering says his name's been dragged into a Hail Mary attempt to smear his credibility. There's new allegations that Pickering's campaign finances were being investigated by the FBI.
It is the first real mud slinging of the statewide elections. Pickering is now playing defense after the allegations of an FBI probe into his campaign finances. And he's blaming his opponent Mary Hawkins Butler.
"She seen the poll numbers just like I have," said Pickering. "She knows she's more than 40 points behind. This is a desperate nasty personal attack from a politician who's desperate to remain relevant."
Purchases of a BMW, RV and garage door were all brought into question by one of Pickering's former campaign employees in Thursday's Clarion Ledger report.
"Every purchase was for the intention of the campaign," Pickering noted Friday.
Pickering explained the used BMW was bought as a campaign car. And it wasn't until after it reached 180,000 miles that his daughter started driving it.
"All the time we paid the insurance," Pickering described. "We paid the taxes, the fuel, we pay tag on the car at her own personal family budget to all set any personal use that we may have incurred during that time."
He claims he followed the law and paid taxes on anything that could have been considered personal use. He added that he hasn't talked to anyone who's investigating him from any agency.
"We're opening a new joint task force on public corruption with the FBI," added Pickering. "Does that sound like someone who's a target?"
We reached out to Mary Hawkins Butler Friday. She wasn't in her office and did not return messages.