February 10th, 2021
NPI on Judge Dixon’s decision in State v. Eyman: Justice is finally served
Today, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon ordered dishonest initiative promoter Tim Eyman to pay $2.6 million for serious violations of Washington State’s public disclosure laws and entered an order enjoining Eyman from having financial control over political committees.
The long-awaited decision comes nearly four years after Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit seeking to hold Eyman accountable for the violations, which were investigated by the Public Disclosure Commission following a complaint from Washingtonians For Ethical Government’s Sherry Bockwinkel.
Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who serves on WFEG’s board with Bockwinkel, thanked Dixon for a well-reasoned, calmly delivered, dispassionate ruling.
“Justice was served today… long, long overdue justice,” said Villeneuve.
“Tim Eyman has been fined before. He has been found guilty of violations of Chapter 42.17A RCW before. But he has never been held accountable like this.”
“After decades of evading accountability, Eyman has finally been sentenced to a punishment that our team believes fits his crimes. Our Permanent Defense project, which fights destructive initiatives like those Eyman sponsors, is about to turn nineteen on Monday, February 15th. I could not think of more befitting news as we approach that anniversary than this thoughtfully delivered ruling. Our team at NPI is elated.”
“Washington State’s public disclosure laws serve the public interest. What we know today as Chapter 42.17A was created by the very initiative process Tim Eyman says he cherishes. But for too long, Tim Eyman has made a mockery of our public disclosure laws.”
“Now, Tim must face the consequences for his choices. Today, February 10th, 2021, his lying and cheating truly caught up with him. The circumstances he finds himself in are of his own making. He needs only to look in the mirror if he wants to know who to blame for these events.”
“As Judge Dixon said, the relief he’s granting won’t stop Tim Eyman from participating in Washington State politics, and it isn’t meant to. However, the days when Eyman could fly solo and simply disregard the law without consequences and oversight are over. Eyman is a serial offender, and is entirely appropriate that he be barred from engaging in financial chicanery in the future. We expect Eyman may appeal Judge Dixon’s decision, and if that happens, we hope it will be sustained on appeal.”
Washingtonians For Ethical Government boardmember Sherry Bockwinkel, who filed the original complaint, thanked the petitioners who blew the whistle on Eyman and his buddy Eddie Agazarm, the masterminds behind the scheme to divert funds from Initiative 1185 (which concerned restating an unconstitutional two-thirds requirement to pass revenue bills) to Initiative 517. Their evidence provided the basis for the complaint that was filed with the PDC.
“This is great news,” said Bockwinkel. “As I reflect on this ruling, I’m thinking of Steve Burdick and Miles Stanley and all the people who stepped forward to say ‘This is wrong!’ when Tim Eyman and Eddie Agazarm tried to cheat them in their efforts to qualify Initiative 517 to the ballot… a scheme that Eyman and Agazarm hoped would allow them to qualify initiatives more easily and cheaply in the future.”
“Petitioners should be justly and fairly compensated for the work they do, and enjoy the same protections under Washington’s worker protection laws as anyone else. Judge Dixon’s ruling today affirmed that our public disclosure laws have meaning. Now let’s ensure our worker protection laws have meaning, too. We’re in the midst of a pandemic — there’s no better time to ensure petitioners are treated respectfully by the people who employ them.”