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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Current And Former Washington AGs Exposed In NY Times Influence Investigation

Office of the Attorney General

The current and former attorneys general of Washington state are among the subjects of a New York Times special report. The story in Wednesday’s Times details how companies under investigation by state AGs try to influence those cases.

It also reveals how former AGs gain special access as industry representatives.

The Times investigation casts a wide net across the 50 states, but specifically calls out Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat. Ferguson has solicited campaign contributions from companies the Attorney General’s office has investigated -- like the makers of 5-hour ENERGY drink. Ferguson’s office later sued 5-hour ENERGY for “deceptive marketing.”

Ferguson pointed out he then refunded the contribution.

“Clearly a donation of $1,000 from ETC Capital did not buy any favor from me with 5-Hour Energy and I think that’s really the test from this,” he said.

The Times report also details how former attorney general Rob McKenna, a Republican, lobbied Ferguson on behalf of corporate clients, including T-Mobile and Microsoft.

Ferguson said that didn’t stop him from going after T-Mobile last year for deceptive advertising. McKenna did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

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."