PDC opens investigation into complaint

Eye on Money: Developments

The Public Disclosure Commission Monday informed Permanent Defense and its co-complainants TaxSanity.org and Taxpayers For Washington’s Future that it was launching a formal investigation of their complaint against Tim Eyman and his three political committees. The complaint, filed August 26th, accused Eyman of shifting money between committees, as well as failing to timely and accurately report campaign expenditures and contributions.

Seeking to address the complaint, Mr. Eyman wrote a letter to the Public Disclosure Commission on September 10th which he made available to the media. He apparently sought to refute the charges, but all he ended up doing was confirming their legitimacy.

He admitted to the most serious charge – namely, that his campaign committee, Voters Want More Choices (VWMC), pays the all of the bills and expenses for Help Us Help Taxpayers, (HUHT), his personal compensation committee. Mr. Eyman states very clearly, “Our campaign committee [VWMC] pays for these mailings and the accounting and other costs associated with our compensation fund [HUHT].”

Though he was willing to tell the PDC the truth in his September 10th letter, Eyman did not tell the truth to his supporters. Throughout the Initiative 864 campaign, a standard disclaimer at the end of each fundraising email read:

“Voluntary donations to the 25% Property Tax Initiative will be used to qualify this important tax reduction initiative for the ballot. A different political action committee, Help Us Help Taxpayers, raises money for a compensation fund for Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan. These two campaign committees are kept separate and donations and expenditures for each fund are publicly reported every month.”

Clearly, even according to Mr. Eyman, the committees are not kept separate because Voters Want More Choices is paying the bills and expenses for Help Us Help Taxpayers.

Eyman is using campaign committee funds to pay for personal mailings and other expenses to maximize the amount of money that he makes from his personal compensation committee. This transfer of funds is clearly an in-kind contribution, and it hasn’t been reported.

Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve said, “Tim Eyman has long attempted to deceive the public and distort the truth about his numerous personal compensation efforts and compliance with public disclosure law. He claims that our complaint is all lies, and then in a letter to the PDC, he admits our main allegation is true.”

“He only tells the truth when it is most convenient, and even then, he tells his supporters something different.”

Besides investigating the main allegation, the PDC announced it will also investigate numerous other reporting violations, including failure to timely and accurately report contributions to Help Us Help Taxpayers, failure to report polling expenditures by Voters Want More Choices, and failure of Just Treat Us The Same to meet reporting deadlines.

The PDC has assigned the complaint Case No. 05-066 and Case No. 05-068.

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