State of Washington v. Tim Eyman et al
State of Washington v. Tim Eyman et al

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.

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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