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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."

Troy Kelley Accuses Gov. Inslee Of 'Political Grandstanding'

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley, left, and Gov. Jay Inslee

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is back on the job after his federal criminal trial. And he’s firing back at Gov. Jay Inslee.

Last week Kelley asked for the resignation of his chief of staff and chief spokesman. Inslee demanded an explanation for the firings. Now Kelley has responded.

In a scathing two-page letter, he accuses the governor, a fellow Democrat, of trying to create news coverage in an election year. Kelley goes on to highlight recent critical audit findings regarding state tolling. And Kelley accuses the governor of failing to adequately address the “root causes” of the accidental early release of approximately 3,000 prison inmates over a 13-year period.

Kelley wrote that he asked his chief of staff and chief spokesman to resign because of a loss of confidence in them. He recently returned to office after a federal jury acquitted him on one count and deadlocked on the remaining counts of an indictment related to his past real estate services business.

A spokeswoman for Inslee’s office calls the letter a “bizarre response” and says it only deepens their concerns.

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."