State attorneys are investigating Eyman’s use of initiative money

EVERETT — State attorneys went after Tim Eyman’s bank records Thursday as they investigate whether he allegedly helped move money among two initiative campaigns in 2012, earning tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

A motion filed in Snohomish County Superior Court seeks to compel the Mukilteo resident to turn over records to the Public Disclosure Commission.

It’s trying to determine if a series of transactions involving Eyman and a signature-gathering firm violated any election laws.

The PDC has been seeking the records since December 2013. Eyman has been ordered to appear in court Sept. 22 to respond.

Eyman declined to comment Thursday, but he previously testified under oath that he did nothing wrong.

His attorney, Mark Lamb of Bothell, said he had not seen the filing.

“Tim has cooperated to date. We have provided a voluminous amount of information,” he said. “It appears they are seeking additional information.”

Thursday’s filing is part of the PDC’s probe of allegations that some of the money Eyman helped raised in support of Initiative 1185 was improperly used for the gathering of signatures for another ballot measure he backed, Initiative 517.

Under state election law, money can be moved from one political committee to another but it must be disclosed in reports to the commission. And the sources of the money that is getting shifted must be revealed as well.

Initiative 1185, which required any tax increase to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, was approved by voters in November 2012. It has since been struck down by the state Supreme Court.

Initiative 517, meanwhile, proposed sweeping changes to the state’s initiative and referendum process. Voters defeated the measure in 2013.

The PDC is focusing on transactions involving Eyman and the firm that gathered signatures for both initiatives, Citizen Solutions.

Voters Want More Choices, the Eyman-led political committee behind I-1185, paid Citizen Solutions nearly $623,000 for collecting the 320,000 signatures that put measure on the ballot.

In July 2012, Citizens Solution paid $308,000 to Eyman through a corporation he set up, Watchdog for Taxpayers.

That same month Eyman loaned $190,000 to Citizens in Charge, a Virginia organization that supports initiatives around the country. The group wound up underwriting the entire cost of gathering signatures for I-517.

Neither the payment nor the loan was reported to the Public Disclosure Commission, according to court documents.

Eyman told PDC investigators in a July 2014 deposition that Citizen Solutions was paying him to help find new clients for the firm in the future.

And he said he loaned the money to Citizens in Charge because he wanted to help the Virginia organization achieve its goals. He said he didn’t know the leader of the group, Paul Jacob, intended to use the money to support I-517.

“My LLC loaned Citizens in Charge money and what they did with that money afterwards I didn’t have any control over that,” he said in his deposition.

Jacob “said he had many projects going on nationally and that if additional funds came in, they would be in a position to be able to help Initiative 517,” Eyman said during the deposition. “But once I made the loans, I didn’t have any knowledge or understanding of whether or not my loans went to his other projects or whether or not he used those funds specifically for 517. I believe to this day that everything was done correctly.”

Thursday’s filing provides new insight into the three-year-old investigation of the signature-collection efforts for the two ballot measures. The original complaint contended individuals gathering signatures for I-517 were getting paid with money raised for I-1185.

Eddie Agazarm, a co-founder of Citizen Solutions, was I-517’s chief backer and it had Eyman’s blessing.

Unlike I-1185, this was an initiative to the Legislature that put it on a different political path. Supporters turned in 345,000 signatures. Citizens in Charge covered the $305,000 cost for gathering signatures as an in-kind contribution. No other money was raised or spent, according to reports filed by the pro-517 committee.

Tony Perkins of the PDC staff said they are “weeks away” from completing the investigation.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lynnwood Public Works employees on the snow plow crew sit in front of one of the city's two plows that will be named based on results of an online public vote. (City of Lynnwood)
Lynnwood snow plow names: Snowbi Wan Kenobi, Plowy McPlowface

They got the two highest votes in an online public survey by Lynnwood Public Works.

2021 survey results from the State Broadband Survey for Snohomish County. (Washington State Department of Commerce)
$16M grant to speed up broadband to north Snohomish County

In Darrington and elsewhere, rural residents have struggled to work remotely during the pandemic. A new project aims to help.

Christa Meyer, residential physical therapist in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, plays Wordle daily. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
What in the world is Wordle? It’s an online game C-R-A-Z-E

Solving the daily five-letter brain teaser in six tries is the latest social media obsession.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Everett in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Woman’s foot burned in south Everett apartment fire

Everyone escaped the fire that scorched a third-floor unit Monday night.

Police: Everett man left family member with life-threatening injuries

An Everett man, 23, was in jail on $100,000 bail after being accused of confronting women and attacking a relative.

Michelle Roth is a registered nurse in the Providence Emergency Department on Sunday, January 23, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Nurses face burnout as hospital staffing shortage continues

‘It feels like there has been a mass exodus in the last two to three months.’

Branden McKinnon (Family photo)
Lawsuit blames mother’s unsecured gun for Marysville boy’s death

Branden McKinnon, 12, got hold of a gun belonging to his mother, a Department of Corrections lieutenant. His father is suing.

Registered nurse Estella Wilmarth tends to a patient in the acute care unit of Harborview Medical Center, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in Seattle. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is deploying 100 members of the state National Guard to hospitals across the state amid staff shortages due to an omicron-fueled spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Inslee announced Thursday that teams will be deployed to assist four overcrowded emergency departments at hospitals in Everett, Yakima, Wenatchee and Spokane, and that testing teams will be based at hospitals in Olympia, Richland, Seattle and Tacoma. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Past the omicron peak? Snohomish County’s COVID cases declining

Hospitalizations are still a concern, however, and infections in Eastern Washington and Idaho could have ripple effects here.

The tower of Paine Field Airport stands in a fog bank forcing flights to be averted or cancelled in Everett, Washington on January 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
More 5G-related cancellations as Paine Field fog persists

The FAA has not cleared certain planes to land in low visibility in Everett due to nearby 5G cellular towers.

Most Read