The Passion of Tim Eyman
The Passion of Tim Eyman: He gives... and gives... and gives... (Cartoon by R.R. Anderson, September 16th, 2008)

Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er and ser­i­al law­break­er Tim Eyman was hit with what he called “a gut punch” this morn­ing when Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge James Dixon denied his motion to pre­vent the State of Wash­ing­ton from con­tin­u­ing to seek injunc­tive relief per­ma­nent­ly bar­ring him from man­ag­ing or con­trol­ling the finances of a polit­i­cal committee.

It’s the lat­est chap­ter in a saga that stretch­es back sev­en years, when this orga­ni­za­tion and oth­er Eyman foes sus­pect­ed that Eyman was using mon­ey raised for one ini­tia­tive (I‑1185) to qual­i­fy a sec­ond, unre­lat­ed ini­tia­tive (I‑517).

A com­plaint over Eyman’s ille­gal behav­ior led to a mul­ti­year inves­ti­ga­tion by the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion, which was then trans­ferred to Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office. In March of 2017, the inves­ti­ga­tion became a cam­paign finance action in Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court, with Fer­gu­son announc­ing he would seek to put an end to Eyman’s end­less self-serv­ing finan­cial schemes.

Dixon’s deci­sion pre­serves the sta­tus quo, leav­ing Bob Fer­gu­son’s orig­i­nal Prayer for Relief unchanged. (In law, the Prayer for Relief is the por­tion of a com­plaint that spells out what the plain­tiff would like the court to do.)

This is the part of the Prayer for Relief Eyman want­ed thrown out:

WHEREFORE, Plain­tiff requests the fol­low­ing relief as pro­vid­ed by law: […] 6.3. For tem­po­rary and per­ma­nent injunc­tive relief, as autho­rized by RCW 42.17A.750(1)(h), includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to bar­ring Defen­dant Eyman from man­ag­ing, con­trol­ling, nego­ti­at­ing, or direct­ing finan­cial trans­ac­tions of any kind for any polit­i­cal com­mit­tee in the future;

Eyman con­tends that mon­ey is speech and that there­fore, he can­not be pro­hib­it­ed from con­trol­ling the finances of a polit­i­cal committee.

Believ­ing him­self to be on the verge of suc­ceed­ing in sig­nif­i­cant­ly weak­en­ing the State’s case against him, Eyman had aggres­sive­ly pro­mot­ed the hear­ing, invit­ing his fol­low­ers to attend and send­ing out the link to TVW’s planned video archive of the event to the press. He even com­pared the hear­ing to the Super Bowl.

By his own admis­sion, Eyman had con­vinced him­self that Dixon would rule in his favor, lament­ing: “I couldn’t con­ceive of how this could not go my direction.”

Dixon stressed that he was only mak­ing a pro­ce­dur­al rul­ing, not deter­min­ing whether the State’s request­ed relief would actu­al­ly be granted.

“This Court will not and can­not rule on what the Court might do in the event the court finds the state has car­ried its bur­den,” Dixon told Eyman from the bench.

After­wards, out­side the Thurston Coun­ty Cour­t­house, a deject­ed Eyman record­ed a short video let­ting his fol­low­ers know that he had lost his motion.

There are still many months to go until the tri­al is sched­uled to take place. It has been a lit­tle over two years since Fer­gu­son filed State of Wash­ing­ton v. Tim Eyman; the case has dragged on at a snail’s pace due to Eyman’s stonewalling and refusal to com­ply with law­ful dis­cov­ery motions. Eyman has repeat­ed­ly been held in con­tempt for not turn­ing over records sought by the State.

Eyman has tried what seems like every con­ceiv­able tac­tic to stall Fer­gu­son’s law­suit. He has ignored court orders to pro­duce records and doc­u­ments, repeat­ed­ly changed attor­neys, and even filed for bank­rupt­cy at the fed­er­al lev­el to secure an auto­mat­ic stay of pro­ceed­ings. But Fer­gu­son, who is a dis­ci­plined and patient law­man, has per­sist­ed in seek­ing to hold Eyman accountable.

Slow­ly but sure­ly, state attor­neys have been amass­ing the evi­dence need­ed to prove Fer­gu­son’s alle­ga­tions against Eyman, which stem from a com­plaint filed by Sher­ry Bock­winkel of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans For Eth­i­cal Government.

Some of that evi­dence was pre­viewed in the State’s response to Eyman’s motion for par­tial sum­ma­ry judg­ment, includ­ing email com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Eyman and asso­ciates which demon­strate that Eyman was ille­gal­ly fun­nel­ing mon­ey for both his per­son­al use and cam­paign use through “Cit­i­zens in Charge”, a 501(c)(3) char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tion con­trolled by his friend Paul Jacob.

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.

Adjacent posts

2 replies on “Tim Eyman loses effort to weaken State of Washington’s primary lawsuit against him”

  1. I would hope Fer­gu­son does NOT run for Gov­er­nor to ensure this case is pur­sued to at least a suc­cess­ful tri­al result.…

Comments are closed.