Lawsuit seeking to ban Tim Eyman from managing money for initiatives kicks off
A court case pitting the state of Washington against anti-tax activist Tim Eyman kicked off this week, which could soon affect his ability to manage the finances for initiatives for the foreseeable future.
The state alleges that Eyman received kickbacks from donors contributing money to his initiatives, and then used that money for personal gain. It is also arguing that he should be required to report his fundraising efforts as political donations.
Eyman’s lawyer, Richard Sanders, claimed Monday that his client has “no responsibility to report anything.”
Regarding allegations of kickbacks, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson — who is leading the lawsuit on behalf of the state — claims that Eyman overpaid a signature gathering firm called Citizen Solutions, which then funneled $308,000 back to Eyman’s company.
On Monday, Sanders said that a reasonable rate had been paid to Citizen Solutions, and that the $308,000 it had paid to Eyman was to hire him as a consultant.
“It was their money,” Sanders argued.
Eyman was previously banned from serving as treasurer for initiative campaigns following a ruling in a separate 2002 court case. For this most recent litigation, the state is asking the court to bar him “from management of financial transactions of any kind for any political committee,” claiming that Eyman has “continued to act as the de facto treasurer for political committees even though he was not named treasurer.”
“Consequently, a stronger court-ordered restriction is necessary,” Ferguson said in a news release.
The bench trial began Monday, and is expected to conclude Thursday. A verdict will be rendered by a Thurston County Superior Court judge.
This lawsuit dates back years, during which time Eyman was found in contempt of court for withholding key documents. That led to him being forced to pay $307,000 in court sanctions. In 2018, Eyman filed for bankruptcy in hopes of protecting his assets from court proceedings.