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Tim Eyman explains bankruptcy, divorce email

Initiative guru and political activist Tim Eyman speaks at a special city council meeting. (Seattle Channel)

Tim Eyman is finally breaking his silence on an email that he sent to his supporters and to Seattle news outlets last month titled, “The government’s brutal 6-year persecution of me and my family has resulted in bankruptcy and divorce.”

In the email, Eyman announced that his six-year litigation with the state government over campaign funds had destroyed both his financial situation and his marriage.

My dearest friends: For 6 long years, I’ve been slammed with the most intense, soul-crushing government litigation against a private individual in state history. While the AG has had unlimited resources to assign teams of taxpayer-financed lawyers to bury me and my attorneys in an endless maze of motions and procedures, my legal costs have had to be funded privately (from my family’s limited resources and from financial support from folks like you). I was doing the best I could to keep up.

RELATED: Tim Eyman says $30 car tabs initiative is just 75,000 signatures away from ballot

He went on to write that “the amount that the government, the lawyers, and others are going to take from me is the value of all my assets on the day I filed for bankruptcy,” and that “the stress and strain and intense pressure from the escalating litigation became unbearable” for his wife, before asking for prayers and financial aid.

After sending the email, Eyman did not give any public comment.

Now, two weeks after sending the email that rocked the Puget Sound with its personal details, Eyman told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson in an exclusive interview why he chose to hit the “send” button.

Eyman clarified that the email was not a press release, but rather one of his regular communications with supporters. He said that he always CC’s media outlets on these types of communications.

“I just wanted to be honest with them, let them know what was going on, let them be the first ones to hear it, and basically not have to talk about it after you send that thing out … it was more of a communication to supporters, but I wanted the media to hear it as well,” he said.

In regard to sending out information that many people might consider private, Eyman explained that he wanted to get a jump on the rumor mill and bring everything out into the open from his own keyboard before people started making assumptions.

“I just think it was really important for that level of transparency with our supporters just to let them know what was going on … I’d rather get it all out, all at once, rather than three months later, people reading about it in the Snohomish County Courthouse,” he said, adding, “I tried to draw the line as best I could to not get into absolutely everything, but to let them know that bankruptcy has implications, divorce does too.”

He said that after Ferguson brought his wife into the investigation, “the intense pressure and the intense stress and strain of the entire thing built up to the point” of the two going their separate ways. The passionate initiative-writer called the ongoing government investigation a “jihad” on Ferguson’s part.

“He succeeded in getting me to file bankruptcy because there is no way that I would possibly be able to afford this level of intense litigation, and exploration, and full-on attacks, and be able to keep up, while he’s got taxpayers paying his lawyers,” Eyman said.

RELATED: Tim Eyman says he loaned $250,000 of his own money to car tab campaign

The extension of the suit to a trial date of 2020 had become so expensive that he “just couldn’t keep up anymore,” Eyman said, noting that the litigation was costing him $80,000 every month. The attorney general’s office had spent about $100,000 a month on this case, according to Eyman.

“They had literally bankrupted their own government agency doing this one case and only this one case — and I just want to highlight the fact that this is unusual,” Eyman said. “Usually, an attorney general has multiple cases that they spend money on — he spent all the money just on this one.”

Eyman corrected himself that the attorney general did not actually bankrupt the government, but said that he may as well have, as the attorney general went nearly a million dollars over his office’s budget.

Further political goals

In the meantime, Eyman is keeping up the fight for $30 car tabs. With less than three weeks left to gather signatures, he said that he is 94 percent of the way there.

“It is delicious satisfaction that despite everything and the kitchen sink getting thrown at us, to be able to qualify an initiative under this kind of siege,” Eyman said.

To add your name to the list and donate to the campaign, visit the Voters Want More Choices website.

He also is working to veto 20-percent pay raises for politicians like Governor Jay Inslee and Ferguson through the Give Them Nothing campaign.

“They knew their salary when they ran, they don’t deserve a raise,” he said.

When asked by Dori if the political activism is worth the breakup of his marriage and loss of his finances, Eyman responded that it is his “role in this world” to fight for the people.

“I think I’ve chosen a life of a political activist, and really nothing gives me greater satisfaction than doing it,” he said. “But I’ve got to be honest with you, one of the motivating factors of continuing is, that is exactly what Bob Ferguson wants, is to stop it, is to shut it down. His lawsuit wasn’t about getting me to pay a fine — he has in the lawsuit a lifetime ban on all future political activity. If I succumb to that, and basically roll over for that, who is next?”

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