Austin Jenkins

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.

Tax issues have taken center stage in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley Tuesday, as an IRS agent and Kelley’s defense attorney sparred over whether Kelley broke tax laws.

This story has been updated.

The outcome of the real estate services fraud case against Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley could hinge on the testimony of Jason JeRue who served as operations manager for Kelley’s former company, the Post Closing Department.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley’s trial enters its fourth week Monday. As prosecutors continue to mount their case, a behind-the-scenes fight has emerged over Kelley’s payment of taxes to the state of Washington and whether that’s relevant to this federal case.

In the spring of 2008, when future Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley was in the process of closing down his real estate services business, he instructed his operations manager to falsify client spreadsheets and “get rid” of records. That was the testimony Thursday from Jason JeRue, a highly anticipated witness in Kelley’s money laundering and tax evasion trial.

Jurors in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley heard from Jason Jerue, a witness who is testifying under a grant of immunity from the federal government. He took the stand Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Tacoma.

The Washington Legislature has adjourned. And now the campaign season has begun. Within hours of the final gavels falling Tuesday night, fundraising pleas went out.

After weeks of gridlock, the Washington House and Senate have reached an agreement on an update to the state’s two-year budget. The deal announced late Monday ends weeks of gridlock that resulted in a 30-day special session.

In May of 2008, a Seattle-area attorney and homeowner named Frank Cornelius, Jr. received a $250 refund check in the mail from the Post Closing Department.

Post Closing was a company owned and operated by Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley, who at the time was a Democratic state lawmaker from Tacoma. But Cornelius didn't know that then.

Fifty private gun sales have been blocked since Washington voters approved a background check law in 2014. That’s according to FBI data released in response to a public records request by public radio and KING-TV in Seattle.

A 30-day special session of the Washington Legislature is about half over. But there’s still no agreement between Senate Republicans and House Democrats on an update to the state’s two-year budget. Sharp moments of election-year partisan tensions have been on display since lawmakers convened in January.

Officer Jayme Biendl was murdered by an inmate in the chapel at the Monroe Correctional Complex in 2011. Her death spawned a major prison safety initiative in Washington.

A state performance audit released Tuesday concluded that Washington prisons are safer five years after Biendl's murder, but safety gaps still persist that put staff at risk.

A driver’s license and proof of insurance are two basics before getting behind the wheel. But Washington state auditors couldn’t find those documents for four volunteer drivers who ferried foster youth to appointments.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is on trial for pocketing real estate closing fees that prosecutors say should have been refunded to homeowners. But emails introduced into evidence Thursday call into question whether his company was the only real estate services firm that failed to issue consumer refunds during the housing bubble of the 2000s.

A former manager for Fidelity National Title escrow offices in western Washington testified Wednesday that State Auditor Troy Kelley promised to track real estate reconveyances for a $15 flat fee and refund leftover funds to customers.

A defense attorney for Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley moved for a mistrial moments after a federal prosecutor had concluded his opening statement in the money laundering and tax evasion trial against Kelley.

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