NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

State collects $20,000 in attorney’s fees and court costs from Tim Eyman and his PACs

Scan­dal-plagued ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman and the polit­i­cal com­mit­tees he con­trols have agreed to reim­burse Wash­ing­ton State tax­pay­ers to recoup the costs incurred to com­pel his coop­er­a­tion into its inves­ti­ga­tion into his con­ceal­ment of cam­paign funds, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office has announced.

“I refused to allow Tim Eyman and Cit­i­zen Solu­tions to impede our inves­ti­ga­tion,” Fer­gu­son said in a press release announc­ing the news. “The court has appro­pri­ate­ly ordered Eyman to allow us direct access to the infor­ma­tion we request­ed and to pay tax­pay­ers back for wast­ing my office’s time.”

Now that is has access to the records it wants, Fer­gu­son’s office is no longer seek­ing to have Eyman held in con­tempt of court — at least not for the time being. Judge Ellen Fair has signed off on the agree­ment between the state and Eyman, in which Eyman has agreed to pay up and the AG has agreed to drop its motion.

Eyman’s bud­dies at Cit­i­zen Solu­tions were pre­vi­ous­ly ordered to pay $12,969.50 in attor­ney’s fees and court costs by Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge Mary Sue Wil­son, in a hear­ing we cov­ered last month.

That brings the cost of Eyman’s stonewalling to over $30,000 in penal­ties.

“Since the AG filed his con­tempt motion, Eyman and the com­mit­tees pro­duced addi­tion­al tax records and some bank­ing records, but still failed to pro­duce all the records as request­ed,” Fer­gu­son’s office not­ed in its press release.“Now that the court-ordered releas­es and costs and fees asso­ci­at­ed with the enforce­ment of the Attor­ney General’s sub­poe­nas have been received, the inves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues.”

It has been almost exact­ly a year since the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to refer this mat­ter to Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son for pros­e­cu­tion, hav­ing found that Eyman com­mit­ted mul­ti­ple appar­ent vio­la­tions of RCW 42.17A when he qual­i­fied Ini­tia­tives 1185 and 517 to the bal­lot in 2012.

(I‑1185 appeared on the Novem­ber 2012 bal­lot; I‑517 appeared on the Novem­ber 2013 bal­lot as an ini­tia­tive to the Leg­is­la­ture that was not act­ed upon.)

Fer­gu­son’s office sum­ma­rized the vio­la­tions it is inves­ti­gat­ing as fol­lows:

  • $623,325 in pay­ments by Vot­ers Want More Choic­es to the sig­na­ture gath­er­ing firm Cit­i­zen Solu­tions “incurred in a man­ner to effect con­ceal­ment” because they were described in the committee’s reports as pay­ing for sig­na­ture gath­er­ing, when $308,185 was passed from Cit­i­zen Solu­tions to Eyman’s for-prof­it com­pa­ny, “Tim Eyman, Watch­dog for Tax­pay­ers” on July 11, 2012;
  • Eyman’s use of approx­i­mate­ly $170,000 in con­tri­bu­tions from Vot­ers Want More Choic­es for per­son­al liv­ing expens­es;
  • The expen­di­ture of about $200,000 con­tributed to sup­port Ini­tia­tive 1185 to fund sig­na­ture gath­er­ing for a sep­a­rate ini­tia­tive, Ini­tia­tive 517;
  • Con­ceal­ment of Eyman as the source of $182,000 of in-kind con­tri­bu­tions attrib­uted in reports to Cit­i­zens in Charge, a Vir­ginia-based com­pa­ny; and
  • Fail­ure of Vot­ers Want More Choic­es and Pro­tect Your Right to Vote on Ini­tia­tives to file com­plete and accu­rate reports of con­tri­bu­tion and expen­di­ture activ­i­ty.

All those vio­la­tions are part of the same case.

But that’s not the extent of the trou­ble Eyman is in.

In the months since Fer­gu­son’s office has tak­en over from the PDC, Eyman and his asso­ciates have con­tin­ued to flout RCW Chap­ter 42.17A, prompt­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans For Eth­i­cal Gov­ern­ment and Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling to each noti­fy Fer­gu­son of their intent to bring law­suits against Eyman in the name of the state to enforce Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws.

In May, Wash­ing­to­ni­ans For Eth­i­cal Gov­ern­ment alleged that Eyman broke the law when he launched a series of inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures against Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­isla­tive can­di­dates the pre­vi­ous month. The tar­get­ed can­di­dates had refused to capit­u­late to Eyman’s demand that the Leg­is­la­ture sab­o­tage the Con­sti­tu­tion’s major­i­ty vote clause dur­ing the 2016 ses­sion.

The fol­low­ing month, hav­ing been asked to look into the mat­ter by Fer­gu­son’s office, the PDC con­firmed the alle­ga­tions and rec­om­mend­ed Fer­gu­son pros­e­cute.

That same month, Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling alleged in a set of forty-five day let­ters that Eyman had failed to prop­er­ly report loans made to his com­mit­tees.

And last week, Wash­ing­to­ni­ans For Eth­i­cal Gov­ern­ment ini­ti­at­ed a new cit­i­zen’s action against Eyman for con­ceal­ing where his newest PAC’s seed mon­ey came from. (Eyman’s newest PAC, “We Love Our Cars”, was formed to pro­mote I‑869, an ini­tia­tive to the Leg­is­la­ture for 2017. It has report­ed rais­ing more than $150,000, but over $140,000 of that is unac­count­ed for in the com­mit­tee’s reports.)

The Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office has not yet announced how it intends to pro­ceed with respect to pros­e­cut­ing these more recent vio­la­tions, but hope­ful­ly it will soon.

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One Comment

  1. THANK YOU. Mr. Eyman is a par­a­site. The last tick I encoun­tered was not tol­er­at­ed, and nor should he be.

    # by Kelli :: September 23rd, 2016 at 1:49 PM