Anti-tax initiative huckster and Donald Trump fanboy Tim Eyman is facing new allegations from the Washington State Attorney General's office today.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that three cases have been filed in Thurston County Superior Court against Eyman's political committees and their principals: Eyman, Jack Fagan, and Mike Fagan. (Mike Fagan is a member of the Spokane City Council.) The groups' treasurer, Barbara Smith, is also named. Eyman's group, Voters Want More Choices, has created multiple political committees to advocate for initiatives limiting taxes. In an announcement of the charges today, Ferguson's office said those committees' "shoddy accounting practices" and improper disclosure their funding and spending violated state law.
According to Ferguson's office, Eyman and the political committees he forms for his initiatives have failed to properly report their contributions, loan agreements, and spending. The AG alleges that Eyman and others lent one of his political committees more than $1 million and then used funds from other political committees to pay the interest on those loans without properly reporting those payments.
Here are the allegations Ferguson laid out in an announcement today:
• The "Tougher to Raise Taxes" committee, which pushed for a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority of the legislature to approve tax increases, allegedly did not have any kind of written agreement for loans totaling more than $1 million it received from Eyman and three others. That group also allegedly failed to report that another Eyman committee was helping pay the interest on its loans.
• Eyman's "Bring Back Our $30 Car Tabs" committee allegedly violated state disclosure laws when it did not properly report money it spent on ads attacking Democratic lawmakers. The AG's office also says this committee did not accurately disclose about $3,300 in interest payments it made for the committee mentioned above, "Tougher to Raise Taxes."
• Another Eyman committee, "2/3rds-for-Taxes Constitutional Amendment," allegedly did not accurately report an interest payment of about $600 it made on a loan for "Tougher to Raise Taxes" and did not properly track the contributions it received.
In a brief (and uncharacteristically bland) statement today, Eyman defended himself:
This year, our committees reported all loans, web videos, and other activities. After complaints were filed about some of our reports, our committees contacted the PDC asking for help and guidance on how to amend the reports to respond to the complaints. Our committees subsequently filed amended reports with the help and guidance of the PDC. We were told this morning that despite our best efforts to follow the help and guidance of the PDC, it is now alleged that the changes made to our amended reports were insufficient. In response, our committees will once again work toward amending our reports to address any new issues.
Today's news comes two months after Ferguson asked a Snohomish County judge to hold Eyman in contempt for failing to turn over documents for his investigation. The state Public Disclosure Commission has also previously found that Eyman received secret payments from a paid signature gathering company and used campaign cash for personal expenses.
"Washington’s campaign finance laws require, and Washingtonians deserve fair, accurate and timely disclosure," Ferguson said in a statement. "When political committees create confusion rather than transparency, I will hold them and the people in charge accountable."