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.

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Judge denies Eyman associate’s motion to dismiss campaign finance enforcement suit

Tim Eyman’s associates William Agazarm and Citizen Solutions will remain defendants in a $2.1 million campaign finance enforcement lawsuit against Eyman’s initiative factory, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon ruled today.

Agazarm and Citizen Solutions had asked Dixon to dismiss the lawsuit against them and award their lawyer Mark Lamb (who also represents Eyman) attorney’s fees.

“The State’s complaint is replete with sound and fury directed at Mr. Eyman, but at its conclusion there is no basis in the cited statutes to hold Defendants Citizen [Solutions] and Agazarm liable for his alleged conduct. According[ly], we respectfully request the court dismiss the State’s prosecution for failure to state a claim and grant attorney’s fees and costs to Defendants Agazarm and Citizen [Solutions] pursuant to RCW 42.17A.765(5),” Lamb wrote in his pleading.

But Dixon refused the request, issuing an oral ruling denying their motion.

The State maintains that Agazarm and Citizen Solutions aided Eyman in his lawbreaking and therefore need to be held accountable.

“Mr. Eyman misled the public and contributors who thought they were donating to one initiative, but instead were supporting Mr. Eyman’s personal expenses and a completely different initiative,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement after the verdict. “That could not have happened without the participation of Mr. Agazarm and Citizen Solutions. Today’s decision is a victory for transparency, and allows the case to proceed toward trial with all responsible parties.”

It has been nearly five years since Sherry Bockwinkel filed the complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission that led to this lawsuit. The PDC took over six months to decide to investigate, and then more than two years to conduct the investigation. After finding multiple serious apparent violations, the PDC referred the case to Attorney General Bob Ferguson for investigation.

Ferguson’s office then spent more than a year conducting its own investigation before filing a lawsuit against Eyman, Agazarm, and Citizen Solutions back in March.

At every turn, the PDC and Ferguson’s office were hampered by stonewalling in the extreme. State attorneys were finally forced to go to court last summer in an effort to get their civil orders enforced. They were successful, and the investigation resumed — at significant cost to Eyman and his associates.

Eyman continues to deny wrongdoing and is trying to raise $600,000 for a legal defense fund to counter what he calls a “stunning witch hunt”. The Mukilteo based initiative profiteer says he’s borrowed against his house in order to seed the fund.

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