January 4th, 2018
NPI applauds AG Ferguson’s motion seeking that Tim Eyman be held in contempt of court
Earlier today, the campaign finance unit of the Attorney General’s office filed a motion in Thurston County Superior Court seeking to have Tim Eyman and his fellow defendants held in contempt for failing (once again) to comply with prior court orders compelling their complete responses to the state’s discovery requests.
The filing is the latest development in the State’s principal campaign finance enforcement lawsuit against Eyman, who is facing a total of four actions against him by the Attorney General stemming from serious violations of Washington’s public disclosure law.
The state is seeking sanctions of $2,000 per day against each defendant for every day that Eyman and Company remain in contempt, and dismissal of Eyman’s affirmative defenses and counterclaims if they do not purge their contempt.
Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve praised the AG’s move, noting that Eyman has deliberately chosen to stonewall the State at every turn in the hopes of putting off his day of reckoning for as long as possible.
“We’ve seen this stalling behavior from Tim Eyman before, when this case was in its earlier stages,” Villeneuve said. “Eyman’s legal strategy can be summed up in two words: obfuscate and delay. Eyman has been absent for the ballot for two years now; it appears he is trying to buy himself more time to get his initiative factory restarted so he can become relevant again. But justice should not be delayed. This case needs to move forward.”
It’s worth remembering that this matter began as a citizen complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission. After a multiyear investigation, impeded by Eyman’s refusal to cooperate, the PDC unanimously in September of 2015 voted to refer the matter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office for further investigation.
Upon taking over the case, state attorneys found Eyman and his associates to be no more cooperative then they had been when the case was at the PDC.
Ultimately, state attorneys had to go to court to get their civil orders enforced. When Tim Eyman still refused to provide complete records, the State asked the courts to hold Eyman in contempt. It was only after the filing of that contempt motion in July of 2016 that Eyman (grudgingly) became more cooperative.
Eyman paid a very real price for his stonewalling in the ensuing weeks, when he was ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars worth of attorney’s fees and court costs. But it appears Eyman and his attorney simply considered the imposition of those penalties to be an unavoidable cost of their legal strategy, for they have gone on stonewalling.
“Enough of this nonsense!” said Villeneuve. “Washingtonians want the truth. We need a full accounting of what happened — and Tim Eyman needs to answer for his lawbreaking.”