Tim Eyman forced to sell his house to pay campaign finance fines and debts
Tim Eyman, the longtime anti-tax lawyer and promoter of serial initiatives who was found responsible for “numerous and particularly egregious” violations of campaign finance law last year, has been forced to sell his house to help pay off millions of dollars in fines and debts.
A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved a resolution requiring Eyman to sell his share of a Mukilteo home to his ex-wife. The $900,000 proceeds will be used to pay off the more than $5.6 million in penalties and legal fees he owes Washington State and other creditors.
Eyman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Eyman was fined more than $2.6 million in February 2021 after a Thurston County judge found he had enriched himself by laundering political donations, accepted bribes vin from a signature-collecting company, had secretly transferred money between initiative campaigns and concealed the source of other political contributions.
In the history of Washington state’s campaign finance law, “it would be difficult for the Court to conceive of a more flagrant or sweeping case of misconduct,” the Washington Superior Court judge wrote. Thurston County, James Dixon.
Eyman was later ordered to pay more than $2.9 million in legal fees to cover the cost of Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation and prosecution of the case.
Eyman paid about $538,000 in fines and costs, but still owes more than $5.6 million, including accrued interest, according to Ferguson’s office.
Eyman filed for bankruptcy just before his trial began. His outsized spending while bankrupt has become a point of contention, with Ferguson claiming he was “emptying” his estate ahead of upcoming sanctions. Eyman attempted to withdraw her bankruptcy petition but was denied.
As part of the ruling against him, Eyman was also barred from directing the finances of any kind of political committee. For years, Eyman argued that such a sentence would be a fatal blow to his career as a political activist. But after the decision was delivered, he backtracked, saying he would change some documents from his political committee, but “the rest will remain the same”.
Eyman can, and has, continued to write and promote initiatives, but he cannot decide how political committees spend money, accept a check for a political committee, have a bank account with political committee funds, or negotiate with suppliers.
The case dates back to a 2012 investigation by the state’s campaign finance watchdog, the Public Disclosure Commission; he was fired to Ferguson in 2015 and he filed a complaint in 2017.
Eyman was held in contempt of court for two years for refusing to cooperate with the trial, and he paid over $300,000 in fines.
Many of the charges mirrored a similar case for which Eyman apologized in 2002, after it was revealed he had lied about paying himself from the initiative’s donor funds. He was fined $55,000 and banned from being treasurer of a political committee.
“I have said everything there is to say about Tim Eyman’s outrageous and unlawful conduct,” Ferguson said in a prepared statement. “Eyman will never take responsibility for his actions, as any admission of wrongdoing would undermine his attempts to extract additional dollars from his supporters. Therefore, he will continue to falsely portray himself as the victim while losing where it counts. – to the court.