State attorney general wants Eyman found in contempt

EVERETT — Attorney General Bob Ferguson wants a Snohomish County judge to find initiative promoter Tim Eyman in contempt for failing to hand over tax records and other financial documents as part of a state investigation into alleged campaign fraud.

State attorneys filed a motion Wednesday contending Eyman violated Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair’s order to surrender the records by a July 13 deadline.

Eyman and the political committees he directs should be found in contempt and fined $2,000 a day to “impress upon them the importance that they comply now,” according to the motion.

And the state’s attorneys want the court to permit Ferguson’s office to obtain the documents on its own, if necessary, by directly contacting the Internal Revenue Service and banks used by Eyman and the committees.

“Despite a subpoena and a court order, Tim Eyman continues to impede this investigation,” Ferguson said in a prepared statement. “That’s unacceptable.”

Attorney Mark Lamb, of Bothell, who represents Eyman, declined to answer questions about the motion.

But in an email sent Wednesday afternoon to two assistant attorneys general, Lamb contends every requested tax record had been provided.

“I wanted to immediately respond to the incorrect assertions in the attached motion regarding tax returns,” Lamb wrote. “Mr. Eyman turned over all copies of his federal and state business and personal tax returns from 2009-2014 by the deadline contained in the order. The returns provided to your office are complete and accurate copies of the returns electronically filed by his accountant.”

Lamb said there are no federal business tax returns for Eyman’s private company because it is a “disregarded entity” for federal tax purposes. All of its income is reflected on personal returns filed by Eyman which were provided to the state, he wrote.

“There are no income tax records for any of the Washington state political committees as they do not pay federal income tax and thus have filed no returns,” Lamb wrote to the state attorneys.

Ferguson is investigating allegations Eyman illegally shifted money among two initiative campaigns in 2012 and concealed payments he received in the process.

Among the issues being explored is evidence that Eyman used $170,000 raised for the political campaigns to pay for his personal living expenses.

Ferguson wants personal tax records and bank receipts from Eyman as well as records for a limited liability corporation he set up named Tim Eyman Watchdog for Taxpayers.

Ferguson also sought records and correspondence from two political committees Eyman leads, Voters Want More Choices and Help Us Help Taxpayers.

On June 29, Judge Fair ruled Eyman, of Mukilteo, had not complied with subpoenas demanding the records. She set the July 13 deadline for him to produce the documents.

That afternoon and evening, Eyman provided 247 pages of records via email, according to the state’s motion. It brought the number of pages of material produced to 1,038.

But Ferguson’s motion said Eyman failed to turn over tax and banking records for the committees as well as contract and billing records between the political committees and the firm hired to gather signatures for the two initiatives, Citizen Solutions.

Eyman’s legal headaches arise from an inquiry that began in April 2012 with a complaint to the state Public Disclosure Commission. He was accused of improperly shifting money raised in support of Initiative 1185 to pay professionals gathering signatures for Initiative 517.

PDC investigators used emails, bank records and interviews to piece together a picture of how Eyman not only moved money between the campaigns, but also allegedly concealed up to $308,000 in kickbacks.

Commissioners for the election watchdog agency in September asked Ferguson to take the case. Part of their motivation was that the state’s chief lawyer could seek punishment more severe than the civil penalties Eyman risked from the PDC.

Meanwhile, a Thurston County court had ordered Citizen Solutions to turn over records by July 13.

On Wednesday, Ferguson returned to that court to ask that the company be found in contempt and fined for failing to comply.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com Twitter: @dospueblos

Talk to us

More in Local News

Everett
Man shot at Everett apartment

The man in his 30s was shot Sunday night. No arrests had been made.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist identified in fatal crash near Lake Stevens

Anthony Palko, 33, died Monday night after colliding with a passenger car. The juveniles in the car were taken to the hospital.

Marysville
Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Arlington Public Works employees use The Big Sidewalk Sucker to lift a concrete panel from the sidewalk. The device saves the city some money and time to level ground below the concrete. (Arlington Public Works)
This thing sucks and helps repair sidewalks in Arlington

Public works crews can remove heavy concrete panels from sidewalks, so the ground underneath can be restored.

New LGI Homes on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Red-hot housing market cools, a bit, in Snohomish County

The amount of housing inventory is rising. Demand is slowing. Higher mortgage rates are a cause.

John McKeon stands in front of a mobile headquarters vehicle while discussing the funding needs of Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at the search and rescue headquarters in Snohomish, Washington. McKeon said a priority for the group is to find money for new covered parking for a number of vehicles that do not have a garage to be parked in. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue wants rescuing

They’re asking for nearly $1 million in federal recovery dollars, but funding has been hard to come by.

Mike Kersey with Aiya Moore, daughter of Christina Anderson, right, talk about the condition of Nick’s Place in Everett, Washington on June 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘We’re all good people when we get clean and sober’

Who has fentanyl taken from us? A messenger who saved lives. A “street mom.” A grandpa who loved his grandkids “999 trillion times.”

Most Read