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Politically motivated?

At a Monday news conference, Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said he was advised last Friday that Democratic Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto will go before a grand jury and attempt to have Mr. Krolicki indicted on charges of mishandling state funds while he served as state treasurer.

Mr. Krolicki, who had announced a few days earlier he was considering a run for the U.S. Senate against longtime Democratic incumbent Harry Reid, accused Sen. Reid and other Democratic leaders of arranging the move as a way of neutralizing Mr. Krolicki as a future political opponent.

“This is a complete partisan enterprise,” Mr. Krolicki said. “I did nothing inappropriate.”

A spokesman for Sen. Reid denied the senator has had any involvement.

Mr. Krolicki speculated the investigation might center on his handling of a state college savings program operated by the treasurer’s office. Legislative auditors reported in May 2007 that Mr. Krolicki broke state law by letting $6 million in savings program funds remain in control of consulting firms and trust fund managers instead of depositing the money in state accounts, where it could have earned $38,000 in interest.

He was also accused of letting Rose-Glenn advertising spend $1.33 million more on advertising than was allowed under a state contract.

And Mr. Krolicki has been accused of deleting office e-mails when he left the treasurer’s office.

Mr. Krolicki was criticized by Democratic Party operatives in the press when ads for the college savings program showed him surrounded by children. Whether using such a program for blatant political self-promotion is “appropriate” or not, it’s common enough in the political world, and not a felony, in and of itself.

There’s no evidence of any involvement by Sen. Reid, here. But it would be naive to assert Democratic leaders take no interest in such an investigation.

Mr. Krolicki did the right thing, politically, in making sure he was first to announce that he is a target of this apparent probe. That allowed him to cast matters in the best light for him.

But Mr. Krolicki would do himself a favor by also addressing the allegations themselves, rather than simply casting aspersions at “politically motivated” Democrats. After all, even Mr. Krolicki would agree that if Ms. Cortez Masto and her staff believe felonies were committed, they have a responsibility to investigate fully, regardless of political appearances.

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