Eyman trial starts on Monday, November 16
OLYMPIA — On Monday, Nov. 16, the trial over the remaining campaign finance violations alleged against initiative promoter Tim Eyman will begin.
The court previously ruled that Eyman committed multiple campaign violations brought as part of this case. Specifically, Judge James Dixon ruled that Eyman broke the law by failing to disclose to the public $766,447 in contributions he received into his personal bank accounts. Eyman previously characterized these contributions as “gifts,” even though the Public Disclosure Commission specifically advised him in a 2002 letter that donations, such as those for personal living expenses, “designed to enable you to continue your efforts of supporting initiatives” were political contributions requiring public disclosure.
The remaining issues to be resolved at trial include the assertion that Eyman concealed a $308,185 kickback he received from Citizen Solutions, a for-profit signature gathering firm. In 2019, Judge Dixon entered a judgment against Citizen Solutions and its principal, William Agazarm, for their role in Eyman’s scheme. The court ordered Citizen Solutions and Agazarm to collectively pay more than $1 million for illegally deceiving Washingtonians by funneling campaign donations to Tim Eyman.
The Attorney General’s Office asserts that Eyman’s violations were intentional.
Eyman spent more than two years in contempt of court for his obstruction of the state’s investigation. As a result of his continued contempt, Eyman paid $307,000 in contempt sanctions ordered by Judge Dixon.
In advance of the trial, the Attorney General’s Office offers the following responses to the most commonly repeated lies Eyman has offered over the course of the state’s case:
Eyman: “Ferguson’s lawsuit explicitly asks for a lifetime ban on all my future political activity.”
FACT CHECK: This assertion is false. If the Attorney General’s Office is successful, Eyman can still conceive of initiatives, draft initiatives, submit initiatives to the Secretary of State, promote initiatives, personally collect signatures for initiatives, publicly advocate for initiatives, and serve on campaign committees. He will not, however, be able to handle, or direct, finances for political committees.
In a motion filed with the court in March 2019, the Attorney General’s Office detailed the restriction it is seeking.
“Eyman falsely claims that the State is asking this Court to enjoin him from ‘any meaningful participation in initiative campaigns.’ … In reality, the State asks only that he be barred from management of ‘financial transactions of any kind for any political committee.’ … The State makes this limited request because Eyman has absolutely refused to comply with state campaign finance laws for decades and has continued to do so even after previously admitting such conduct in court and promising to stop it. The State's request is authorized by state law, consistent with the state and federal constitutions, and necessary to prevent further illegal conduct by Eyman.”
Eyman has repeatedly thwarted the court’s previous attempts to obtain his compliance with campaign finance laws. In 2002, the court prohibited Eyman “from acting as treasurer of any political committee…or as signer on any financial accounts of any such committee.” That court order failed to prevent Eyman from violating the law. Eyman continued to act as the de facto treasurer for political committees even though he was not the named treasurer. Consequently, a stronger court-ordered restriction is necessary.
Eyman: The Attorney General’s Office is “making sure I can’t have any legal counsel any step of the way.”
FACT CHECK: This assertion is false. Judge Gary Tabor, the court-appointed Discovery Master, found this assertion false in a court order issued on Sept. 30, 2020:
“This Court finds that the record in this matter does not support any argument that Defendant Eyman was ever denied counsel during the pendency of this case.”
Eyman attorney: “Mr. Eyman was simply incapable to purge contempt as a lay person.”
FACT CHECK: This assertion is false. Judge Tabor found that Eyman could have complied with the court orders and his refusal to comply with the court’s orders was “intentional at all times throughout the period of his contempt.”
Judge Tabor’s order from Sept. 30, 2020, reads:
“This Court specifically finds that Defendant Eyman was capable of complying with the Court’s discovery orders and the Civil Rules regarding discovery throughout his period of contempt, and specifically on every occasion in which this Court addressed a motion to compel or any other issue related to Defendant Eyman’s contempt including at the times of each of his motions to purge contempt. This finding is supported by, among other things, Defendant Eyman’s demonstrated ability to make progress on discovery both while represented and while pro se and his ability to eventually purge contempt.”
“This Court specifically finds that, despite Defendant Eyman’s capability to comply with this Court’s discovery orders as well as the discovery rules throughout this period of contempt, both as a pro se and while represented by counsel, Defendant Eyman made a conscious choice to refuse to comply with this Court’s orders and the discovery rules. His failure to comply with this Court’s discovery orders was intentional at all times throughout the period of his contempt both while he was a pro se and while he was represented.” (emphasis added)
Excerpt from the Supreme Court Commissioner’s ruling:
“Mr. Eyman has never articulated an objectively reasonable justification for repeatedly disregarding the superior court’s orders…Mr. Eyman’s egregious history of noncompliance amply supported the superior court’s explicit finding that Mr. Eyman’s violation of the discovery rules and the court’s orders was deliberate and willful.”
Eyman: The Attorney General’s Office has wasted resources prosecuting Eyman
FACT CHECK: This assertion is false. The Supreme Court Commissioner found that Eyman’s willful disregard for court orders resulted in costly trial delays and wasted resources, writing: “Mr. Eyman willfully thwarted the State’s efforts to prepare for trial, causing significant delay and an obvious waste of resources.”
The law allows the Attorney General’s Office to recoup its costs in successful campaign finance lawsuits. The office intends to recoup its costs from Eyman.
Eyman: The Attorney General’s lawsuit is a “political jihad against me”
FACT CHECK: This assertion is false. Eyman has not presented a single fact to support this assertion. The Attorney General brought this case upon the recommendation of the State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). The PDC investigated the matter and referred the case to the Attorney General. At the time Attorney General Ferguson filed the case, the PDC Chair called it “one of the most egregious” violations the PDC had ever seen.
Attorney General Ferguson has filed campaign finance enforcement cases against local Democratic and Republican party organizations and elected officials of both parties. In fact, Ferguson’s office has filed more cases against Democratic elected officials than Republicans. He filed more cases against Democratic party organizations than Republican party organizations.
Since 2013, Attorney General Ferguson has filed campaign finance case against eight Democratic candidates for office, and one Republican candidate. He has filed seven cases against Democratic county organizations, compared with one Republican county organization.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.email@example.com
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