Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today he is asking courts in Snohomish and Thurston counties to hold initiative profiteer Tim Eyman and his associates in contempt of court for failing to fully comply with lawfully-issued civil orders seeking documents that would shed light on potential violations of Washington’s public disclosure law.
“Despite a subpoena and a court order, Tim Eyman continues to impede this investigation,” Ferguson said in a statement. “That’s unacceptable.”
To put an end to Eyman’s stonewalling, Ferguson says he’ll ask courts to authorize his office to obtain the tax returns, bank statements, and other documents he has requested directly from the federal government and the banks Eyman does business with. Ferguson is also asking for a penalty of $2,000 a day to be assessed against Eyman for failure to produce the documents sought in his investigation.
More specifically, Ferguson is asking for the following:
- A penalty from each respondent of $2,000 for each day they remain in contempt of court;
- An order authorizing the state to issue civil orders to the respondents’ third-party banks to directly obtain the records sought from respondents;
- An order directing respondents to execute releases authorizing the state to obtain federal tax return information; and
- An order awarding the state further costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in connection with bringing this contempt motion.
Ferguson’s motion will be heard in the near future, his office says.
This development is the latest proof that Tim Eyman considers himself to be above the law. He was uncooperative when the Public Disclosure Commission was spending three years looking into the allegations that led to this investigation, uncooperative still when the Attorney General took over the case last autumn, and still uncooperative even after multiple courts issued orders compelling Eyman to turn over the materials sought by Ferguson.
Why is Eyman exposing himself to serious liability by continuing to stonewall? We can only surmise that it is because Eyman is deeply afraid of what the evidence will show once Ferguson’s investigators have the opportunity to examine it.
Eyman’s behavior is the behavior of a man who is desperately trying to keep information a secret — presumably because it lead to his ultimate downfall.
We will have more on this story as it develops.