Tim Eyman files for bankruptcy amid lawsuit with state
Washington state political activist Tim Eyman filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, citing his legal fight with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson as the leading reason.
Ferguson accused Eyman of violating Washington’s state campaign finance laws, and is in the process of suing him for $2.1 million, in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in court contempt fees.
Filing for bankruptcy, Eyman claimed in a press release, was his only way to protect his assets.
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. That includes our home, cars, furniture, savings, etc. It will be the bankruptcy judge, not the AG, who will decide how much I owe. I’ll then have years under a payment plan to pay that amount using future earnings and/or the sale of assets, like our home. It’s going to be the most difficult financial challenge I’ve ever faced. But again, I have no choice.
He also noted that the lawsuit played directly in the ending of his 25-year marriage, citing how “stress and strain and intense pressure from the escalating litigation became unbearable.”
Eyman has long advocated for various anti-tax ballot initiatives in Washington, and has historically faced legal trouble more than once for improper use of campaign funds, a charge he was fined $50,000 for in 2002.
In that 2002 case, Eyman was made to agree to a lifetime ban from controlling the finances for any political committee. He stood accused of using campaign funds to pay personal expenses.
Fast forward to today, and Eyman is even more hot water with the state, in a lawsuit that could end up costing him millions. “[Eyman] managed to weave an elaborate web of financial transactions to hide campaign funds, [and] enrich himself while keeping his contributors and the public in the dark,” said state Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a news conference in 2017.
Ferguson also fired back in a statement released shortly after Eyman’s Thursday. In it, he said the following:
Mr. Eyman brought these financial problems on himself by egregiously violating state campaign finance laws and refusing to comply with court orders, resulting in contempt sanctions totaling more than $100,000. The public should know that in addition to being held in contempt of court, Mr. Eyman was scheduled to sit for a deposition in this case in less than two weeks and has informed the court that he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, something he has already done in his written discovery responses.
“We note Mr. Eyman claims he has received more than $20,000 per month in gifts. We look forward to presenting our case to the court that these gifts are really political contributions, solicited for a political purpose, that should have been reported to the public,” Ferguson added.
Eyman maintains that he will fight these charges.
“There’s simply no way I’m going to let the government get away with this,” he proclaimed.
Ferguson recently petitioned the court for a delay in the lawsuit, citing the need for further investigate Eyman’s finances. The petition was granted, and now the trial will move forward in January 2020. Eyman claimed that any such delay would be “devastating,” citing an $80,000 bill for just one month of legal fees.