Washington sues Tim Eyman for ‘elaborate scheme’

Mar 31, 2017, 11:57 AM | Updated: 1:29 pm

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Friday that the state is suing Tim Eyman for a campaign “scheme” that he alleges “duped” campaign contributors into financially supporting the man personally, and efforts unrelated to their contributions.

Related: AG asks that Tim Eyman be held in contempt over financial records

“Today we are announcing a significant campaign financing lawsuit against Tim Eyman, against a for-profit signature gathering firm known as Citizen Solutions, and also one of the principals of that firm William Agazarm,” Ferguson said.

“Our lawsuit alleges an elaborate web of unlawful financial transactions,” he said. “The result, Tim Eyman personally profited from these transactions and caused inaccurate and misleading reporting. These defendants demonstrate contempt for our campaign finance laws and they will be held accountable.”

Eyman’s attorney, Mark Lamb, responded to the lawsuit:

For all of the heated rhetoric earlier today, this dispute is simple: whether two transactions needed to be included on campaign reports. The Attorney General believes they should, we do not. From the beginning, Mr. Eyman has made clear he did nothing wrong and the money he received was lawfully earned for the services he provided. The Attorney General has filed a suit against my clients today because (with the statute of limitations looming) these claims would have otherwise been time-barred. Many plaintiffs overreach and file a kitchen sink of claims when they are faced with a statute of limitations deadline.

Just last year the Attorney General attempted several politically motivated campaign finance prosecutions that have been dismissed on summary judgment. Just this week, the Supreme Court denied the Attorney General’s request for direct review in one of these failed prosecutions. The more I have examined the State’s claims in this matter the less impressed I am. Mr. Eyman has the same First Amendment rights as the Attorney General himself. It is chilling that the stated purpose of this action is to permanently bar him from participating in the political process in this State.

Cases are litigated in court, not press conferences. Indeed, in Washington state the special responsibilities of a prosecutor include the obligation to, “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused”. I will leave it to others to decide if this morning’s press conference meets that standard.

Eyman has become an initiative celebrity around Washington, spearheading multiple campaigns that generally target government functions and taxing authority. He is known for large-scale signature gathering. But Ferguson accuses Eyman of using that platform to direct funds for his personal use and misleading his contributors as to where their money was going.

“In addition to enriching himself, Tim Eyman effectively duped his own contributors who thought they were supporting one initiative – Initiative 1185 – but ended up supporting a different initiative – I-517 – and Tim Eyman personally,” Ferguson said.

Washington vs. Tim Eyman

Eyman and Citizen Solutions could face at least $1.8 million in penalties, according to Ferguson. The state will request the court order Eyman to reimburse $308,000 it alleges went to Eyman’s personal use. Citizen Solutions and Agazarm could face up to $924,000 in penalties.

The case also seeks for the court to order that Eyman is forbidden from participating or directing financial transactions for any political committee ever again.

The “elaborate web” that Ferguson described was displayed on two infographics next to the attorney general as he spoke at the press conference, showing amounts of money and arrows for where the money was handed off between campaigns and Eyman. Ultimately, Ferguson accuses Eyman of “taking kickbacks from contractors, using campaign funds for personal expenses, redirecting donations made for one initiative to a different initiative.”

The attorney general also noted that it is not the first time Eyman has faced a court over finances related to his political activities. A 2002 court judgment barred Eyman from acting as treasurer for his political committees.

“That obviously did not prevent him from engineering this elaborate scheme,” Ferguson said. “Tim Eyman still 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.

Local News

(KIRO 7)...
Frank Sumrall

Lynnwood mayor discusses Comprehensive Plan after city has ‘weathered the storm’

Lynnwood is in the midst of a new Comprehensive Plan, with projects being planned over the next 20 years to reinvigorate the city.
23 hours ago
(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Gov. Inslee issues emergency order after semi-truck damages I-405 overpass in mid-June

Gov. Jay Inslee has issued an emergency proclamation after a semitruck struck the Lind Avenue overpass in mid-June, causing severe damage.
23 hours ago
Photo by Win McNamee...
Dori Monson

Dori: ‘Just want to coach again’ says Bremerton coach after Supreme Court victory

What started as a prayer of thanks on a Kitsap County football field has now ended as a prayer of thanks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, for former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joseph Kennedy.
23 hours ago
Photo by George Rose...
KIRO 7 News Staff

As cooler ocean air moves in, temperatures drop across western Washington

Much cooler ocean air is here in western Washington and you will probably feel it when you walk out the door Tuesday.
23 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Norwegian cruise ship strikes iceberg off Alaskan coast, limps back to Seattle for repairs

Norwegian Sun struck an iceberg off the Alaskan Coast Saturday. While on route to Hubbard Glacier, the ship “made contact” with a small glacier
23 hours ago
Photo by Leonard Ortiz...
MyNorthwest Staff

Firework sales set to dip as unincorporated King County bans take effect

Fireworks sales in Washington state begin at noon today and residents will be allowed to set them off in places they are allowed until July 5 at 11 p.m.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Washington sues Tim Eyman for ‘elaborate scheme’