Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.

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The FBI has seized a $900,000 legal retainer fee paid by indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley. They said the money came from alleged ill-gotten gains related to Kelley’s former real estate services business.

A three-year-old Washington state law that allows whistleblowers to bring Medicaid fraud lawsuits is working. That’s according to a review by legislative auditors that urges lawmakers to renew the law before it expires next year.

Vance for Senate Campaign

Longtime Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray has drawn a Republican challenger. Former GOP Chair Chris Vance says he plans to focus on issues like the national debt. Vance formally announced his 2016 run Tuesday.

Vance launched his campaign with a video announcement and a promise to be a different kind of candidate.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley faces additional charges of money laundering and tax evasion. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced the new charges Thursday afternoon.

Rachel La Corte / AP

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled a lawsuit against Backpage.com can move forward. The lawsuit alleges Backpage was complicit in the sex trafficking of minors.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The Olympia police officer who shot two African-American brothers during a confrontation in May will not be criminally charged.

That was the announcement Wednesday afternoon from Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim. He is charging the two brothers with assault on the officer.

The Washington State Patrol is responsible for guarding the governor and his wife. But audio recordings obtained through public records reveal the Patrol’s Executive Protection Unit is also concerned about protecting the governor politically -- at least when it comes to driving him in a gas-guzzling SUV.

A federal judge in Seattle has made it clear to the state that mentally ill jail inmates need to be evaluated within seven days to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen traveled to China last year and touted a company that’s now at the center of a federal fraud investigation.

The Washington state Senate Wednesday morning failed to muster a two-thirds vote to suspend a voter-approved class size reduction measure. That could put a $2 billion hole in the freshly passed two-year budget.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a new two-year budget into law just before midnight Tuesday averting a partial government shutdown.

Recreational marijuana buyers would pay a flat 37 percent pot tax, plus sales tax, under a proposal headed to the desk of Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

The court battle over wait times for Washington jail inmates to get mental health competency exams is not over.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is choosing to remain mostly silent about his legal troubles.

A proposal to make it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving has died in the Washington House. The measure failed to get a vote before a key deadline Tuesday.

Two of the highest priority issues for Washington House Democrats are a $12 per hour minimum wage and paid sick leave.

House Democrats on Friday unveiled a proposed $1.5 billion tax package. Senate Republicans plan to rollout their proposed budget later this week.

According to a spokeswoman with the Washington Military Department, an ongoing federal probe has not affected Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley’s status as a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard.

Majority Democrats in the Washington state House have unveiled a proposed two-year, nearly $39 billion state budget and tax package.

An attorney who once sued Troy Kelley says the Washington State Auditor has known about a federal probe into his past for nearly two years.

In an all-staff email Friday, embattled Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley seemed to suggest he’s not planning to step down or even take a leave of absence.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley was not in the office Wednesday. His staff say they don’t know when the Democrat will be back.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley said he is "puzzled" by the federal government's investigation of a real estate escrow and title business Kelley closed before he took office in 2013.

The federal probe involving Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is casting a wide net.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is facing increased pressure to publicly address an apparent federal investigation into his activities.

The Washington state Auditor’s office says it’s turned over documents to the Department of Justice in response to a subpoena.

Monday morning in Tacoma Troy Kelley's neighbors heard a knock on the Washington state auditor's door. Agents of the U.S. Treasury Department announced themselves, entered through the front door and searched his home for about five hours. Kelley's office submitted documents in response to a federal subpoena Thursday.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has accused a mobile home park owner of a scheme to evade inspections.

Sunday marks one year since a deadly landslide near Oso, Washington, killed 43 people.

A cast of characters from Washington’s TV and film industry descended on Olympia Tuesday seeking an expanded tax credit for the film industry.

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