Tim Eyman stays mum on state’s investigation of his compensation

EVERETT — It isn’t easy to keep loquacious initiative promoter Tim Eyman from talking except when the conversation turns toward allegations he broke several campaign laws.

Eyman, a Mukilteo resident, is alleged to have secretly moved campaign funds between two initiative campaigns in 2012 and improperly kept some money for himself. The attorney general’s office is investigating at the request of the Public Disclosure Commission.

He has not responded publicly to the allegations but in an interview last week Eyman said he doesn’t think the investigation will sway voters deciding the fate of his latest measure, Initiative 1366. Ballots for the Nov. 3 election are due to arrive in mailboxes this week.

“At the end of the day, the voters pay attention to this kind of stuff but when it comes to actually voting for the initiative, I just don’t think it’s a voting issue,” he said.

“You have to give voters enough credit to understand that a vote on an initiative is on the policy before them,” he said. Looking back on a career of successes and defeats, he said “I don’t think I was a deciding factor on any of them.”

Initiative 1366 is another attempt by Eyman to put restrictions on raising taxes into the state’s constitution.

The measure would reduce the state’s share of the sales tax by a penny unless a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds supermajority of the Legislature to raise taxes without a public vote is put on the November 2016 statewide ballot. Lowering the sales tax could translate into a loss of $8 billion for the state in the next six fiscal years.

The measure made the ballot on the strength of signatures gathered by Citizen Solutions, the same company whose financial interactions with Eyman in 2012 are at the heart of the state probe.

A PDC investigation concluded Eyman failed that year to disclose that donations received for one initiative were spent to support another. It also alleged Eyman failed to report getting a $308,000 consulting fee from Citizen Solutions which worked on both measures.

In an interview last week, Eyman declined to say whether the company paid him a consulting fee after he turned in signatures for Initiative 1366.

“I am going to be talking about 1366 only today,” he said.

Nor would Eyman discuss any ties between the 1-1366 campaign and Watchdog for Taxpayers, the private company through which the 2012 consulting fee was funneled.

“We are totally focused on 1366 and getting it over the finish line,” he said. “We’re on the verge of getting to the top of Mount Rainier and before anybody knocks us off that mountain we want to make sure the focus is on the initiative as much as possible.”

The attorney general’s office has given no indication when its investigation will be complete.

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

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