State attorneys this week filed motions on behalf of the Public Disclosure Commission seeking financial records relating to a complaint made against Tim Eyman regarding his 2012 initiative campaigns.
Even as his latest anti-tax initiative survived a challenge in the state Supreme Court, initiative guru Tim Eyman saw a long-simmering complaint against him by the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) bubble back up.
State attorneys this week filed motions on behalf of the PDC seeking financial records relating to a complaint made against Eyman regarding his 2012 initiative campaigns.
The motions, first reported Friday by The (Everett) Herald, involve an August 2012 PDC complaint alleging Eyman improperly used money raised for one initiative, Initiative 1185, for another one he was working on, Initiative 517.
The state Attorney General’s Office filed motions Thursday in Snohomish County Superior Court and Thurston County Superior Court seeking bank records relating to payments used for signature gatherers.
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Voters Want More Choices, an organization of which Eyman is an officer, paid Citizen Solutions $623,000 between April 2012 and July 2012 to gather signatures, according to court records.
Then, that July, Citizen Solutions paid $308,000 to Eyman and his company, Watchdog for Taxpayers. Records state that Eyman took about $190,000 of that money and lent it to another group, Citizens in Charge, which was working on I-517.
I-517, among other things, would have given initiative sponsors an additional six months to collect signatures and made it illegal for anyone to maintain “an intimidating presence” within 25 feet of a signature gatherer. It did not pass.
I-1185 was intended to reimpose a law that required a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. It passed, but was later struck down by the state Supreme Court.
The remaining amount of the $308,000 — about $118,000 — Eyman kept and “used for personal living expenses to support his family,” according to records.
Neither the $308,000 payment made to Eyman nor the $190,000 payment he made to Citizens in Charge was reported to the PDC, according to records.
Mark Lamb, a Bothell attorney representing Eyman, said Friday that he and the state had reached an agreement on the records request, and that Lamb expected the motions to be dismissed.
Neither the PDC nor the Attorney General’s Office would confirm that an agreement had been reached.
Lamb said the court action had caught him by surprise, as he said he hadn’t had any communications on the investigation in a year.
“Tim has cooperated with the PDC ever since the inception of the investigation,” Lamb said. Eyman could not be reached for comment.
Lori Anderson, of the PDC, said the commission is trying to clear its backlog of cases, including the one relating to Eyman.
“It’s a priority for the commission to get some resolution to that complaint,” she said.
The PDC asked for the financial records as part of a subpoena issued in 2013, according to court records.
“To this date, the commission staff’s investigation has been significantly hindered and delayed by respondent’s refusal to provide the subpoenaed records,” according to one of the motions filed by the Attorney General’s Office.
In a letter to the PDC dated May 2014, Lamb said the subpoena was “overbroad” in its scope and should have been more limited.
Lamb added that “last year Mr. Eyman provided hundreds of documents to your agency in response to your initial inquiries about this same complaint.”
This isn’t the first investigation into Eyman’s dealings. In 2002, the PDC investigated whether Eyman violated the law by covering up a salary he had taken from campaign donations. In that case, the PDC was looking at $226,100 paid to a consulting company Eyman owned by political action committees.
As a result of that investigation, Eyman and political action committees he operated had to pay fines and legal fees totaling about $55,000 and was barred from again serving as a campaign’s treasurer, according to PDC records.
The PDC can authorize a penalty of up to $10,000, according to Anderson. But, “The commission, when it believes its penalty authority is too skimpy, will ask the Attorney General to file a civil action in superior court,” she wrote in an email. There, the penalty could be increased, she wrote.