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Election watchdog considers new allegations against Eyman

July 7, 2016

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state’s election watchdog will consider asking the attorney general’s office to take “appropriate action” against initiative promoter Tim Eyman over allegations Eyman failed to disclose independent expenditures related to campaign videos.

A Public Disclosure Commission staff investigation found the videos targeted lawmakers who opposed a proposal to require a two-thirds supermajority for tax increases. The web videos urged people to “Vote Them Out!”

The videos were paid for by an Eyman campaign promoting an initiative to bring back $30 car tab fees in Washington. The PDC probe alleged the videos were an independent campaign expenditure, and that Eyman’s campaign failed to properly report them and failed to have a special disclaimer tag for the ads.

At a special meeting Friday the PDC Commission will consider the staff recommendations that it find multiple apparent violations of state election law.

An attorney for Eyman said Thursday that Eyman believed his PDC filings were correct and the campaign didn’t try to hide its sponsorship of the ads.

“At no time did my clients seek to hide their sponsorship and involvement with these videos, nor the funds that were used to pay for them,” said Mark Lamb.

Last month a Snohomish County judge ruled that Eyman must turn over business, banking and tax records as part of an investigation of campaign-finance practices.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair ordered the documents to be disclosed by July 13.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson had filed petitions in Snohomish and Thurston County Superior Courts asking them to enforce subpoenas seeking documents pertaining to Eyman, his political committees, his for-profit company and the for-profit signature gathering company Citizen Solutions.

Eyman has proposed numerous tax-limiting initiatives over the years. Last fall, the state Public Disclosure Commission said it discovered several potential violations of campaign-finance law and forwarded the information to Ferguson.

The findings included allegations Eyman used $170,000 in contributions to a political committee for living expenses; that his political committees failed to accurately report contributions and expenditures; and that about half of $623,000 in payments from one of Eyman’s political committees to Citizen Solutions was actually passed along to Eyman’s for-profit company.

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