After months of who knows what, the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has finally launched an investigation into allegations that initiative profiteer Tim Eyman and his associates illegally financed their Initiative 517 signature drive with funds raised to gather signatures for Initiative 1185, the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases.
As The Stranger first detailed back in August 2012, Eyman's signature-gathering contractors are accused of running a complicated scheme that attempted to force subcontractors to collect I-517 signatures for "free" as a condition of employment for collecting signatures on the more lucrative Initiative 1185. The complaint includes affidavits, e-mails, invoices, and other documentation that suggest canvassers were ultimately paid for I-517 signatures during a time period in which the I-517 campaign had reported raising little or no funds. I-1185's funders claim that they were unaware that their money may have subsidized the I-517 campaign.
Ironically, I-517 would make it easier to run such signature drives in the future.
Eyman has been charged with flagrant violations of our state's campaign finance and disclosure laws before. In 2002, Eyman was fined $50,000 and barred for life from serving as a campaign treasurer after he was found to have diverted $233,000 from his initiative campaigns.