Judge Fair hears arguments in State of Washington v. Tim Eyman et al
Judge Ellen Fair hears arguments from attorneys Chad Standifier, representing the State of Washington, and Mark Lamb, representing Tim Eyman (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Hope­ful­ly putting an end to months of stonewalling by Tim Eyman, Sno­homish Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge Ellen Fair today ordered the ini­tia­tive prof­i­teer to coop­er­ate with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s inves­ti­ga­tion into his alleged vio­la­tions of Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure law, which began last fall with a refer­ral of a com­plaint from the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Commission.

Eyman has until July 13th to turn over tax returns, bank state­ments and oth­er infor­ma­tion sought by Fer­gu­son’s office as part of its inves­ti­ga­tion. Eyman is also being required to pay attor­ney’s fees to com­pen­sate the State of Wash­ing­ton for costs asso­ci­at­ed with enforc­ing its law­ful orders.

Judge Fair (whose sur­name earned her a pro­file in The Her­ald of Everett a few years ago) heard oral argu­ments dur­ing today’s civ­il motions cal­en­dar from Chad Stan­difer, rep­re­sent­ing the State of Wash­ing­ton, and Mark Lamb, rep­re­sent­ing Tim Eyman. After lis­ten­ing to pre­sen­ta­tions by each, she deter­mined that Eyman had no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for not coop­er­at­ing with the investigation.

Judge Fair hears arguments in State of Washington v. Tim Eyman et al
Judge Ellen Fair hears argu­ments from attor­neys Chad Stan­difer, rep­re­sent­ing the State of Wash­ing­ton, and Mark Lamb, rep­re­sent­ing Tim Eyman (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Eyman’s posi­tion, as rep­re­sent­ed by Lamb, is that he’s okay with the state’s inves­ti­ga­tors com­ing to Lam­b’s office or some oth­er loca­tion and look­ing at the request­ed records, but he does­n’t want to turn over copies of the because he’s afraid that his oppo­nents, or oth­er per­sons who are not in align­ment with his aims and agen­da, would request the infor­ma­tion through the Pub­lic Records Act.

Fer­gu­son’s office main­tains they need the records to prop­er­ly inves­ti­gate Eyman’s wrong­do­ing, that Eyman has no legit­i­mate grounds for with­hold­ing them, and that if some­body makes a request for the infor­ma­tion, there is a mech­a­nism in place that would allow Eyman to request the infor­ma­tion be exempt­ed from disclosure.

Fair agreed and grant­ed the relief request­ed by the State.

“Mr. Lamb has been quite can­did with the Court in terms of indi­cat­ing, sev­er­al times, and in his writ­ten mate­ri­als, that his client has absolute­ly no objec­tion to the State view­ing the records […] and is con­cerned clear­ly not about the State view­ing them, but about, I guess, the pub­lic view­ing them, or being out in the pub­lic purview,” she said, once Stan­difer and Lamb had fin­ished their presentations.

“But I would agree with the State that I don’t think that is what’s before the Court today. There is no pub­lic records request; this is just a request to enforce sub­poe­nas, which there’s no argu­ment being made that the State does not have the right to do. So I would agree […] there’s no pro­tec­tive order before the Court, there’s no pub­lic records request before the Court, and so I think that the State is enti­tled to the records,” she concluded.

After award­ing the State attor­ney’s fees, which the State is enti­tled to under Chap­ter 42.17A of the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton, Fair brought the hear­ing to an end. It’s our under­stand­ing that the pro­posed order draft­ed by the State gives Eyman a cou­ple of weeks to turn over the request­ed doc­u­ments. Should he fail to do so, he could be found in con­tempt in court, which could land him in jail.

UPDATE: Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office has released a state­ment laud­ing the order and vow­ing to hold Tim Eyman accountable.

“No one is above the law,” Fer­gu­son said. “My office will con­duct a full inves­ti­ga­tion of this mat­ter, and I will not allow Tim Eyman to impede it.”

We thank Attor­ney Gen­er­al Fer­gu­son for his deter­mi­na­tion to bring the truth to light. It is vital that Tim Eyman be held respon­si­ble for his wrongdoing.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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