SEATTLE (AP) – Watch salesman-turned-anti-tax campaigner Tim Eyman, who was found guilty last year of “numerous and particularly egregious” campaign finance law violations, has forced to sell his home to help pay millions of dollars in fines. and debt
A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved a resolution requiring Eyman to sell his share of a Mukilteo home to his ex-wife, The Seattle Times reported. reported.
The $900,000 in proceeds will go toward paying more than $5.6 million in penalties and legal fees owed to Washington state and other creditors.
Eyman was fined more than $2.6 million in February 2021 after a Thurston County judge found that he had enriched himself by laundering political donations, that he had accepted kickbacks from a signature-gathering firm , who had secretly sent money between initiative campaigns and concealed the source of other political contributions.
In the history of Washington state campaign finance law, “it would be difficult for the Court to conceive of a case involving misconduct that is more egregious or more extensive,” Thurston County Superior Court Judge wrote , James Dixon.
Eyman was ordered to pay more than $2.9 million in legal fees to cover the cost of the investigation and prosecution by Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Eyman described the sanctions against him as “ridiculously unconstitutional and absurdly excessive” in an email to the newspaper.
Eyman has paid about $538,000 in fines and fees, but still owes more than $5.6 million, including accrued interest, according to Ferguson’s office.
Eyman filed for bankruptcy just before his trial. A U.S. bankruptcy judge in December found Eyman in default and ordered his bankruptcy case moved from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. Chapter 7 means the court appoints a receiver responsible for selling Eyman’s assets and distribute the proceeds to their debtors.
Eyman was also banned from handling the finances of any type of political committee. Eyman has long argued that this ruling would be a death blow to his career as a political activist. But after the ruling, he backtracked, saying he would change the paperwork to his political committee, but “the rest will remain the same.”
Eyman has continued to craft 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 vendors.
That case stems from a 2012 investigation by the state’s campaign finance watchdog, the Public Disclosure Commission. He was referred to Ferguson in 2015 and filed a lawsuit in 2017.
Eyman was held in contempt of court for two years for refusing to cooperate with the lawsuit, and paid more than $300,000 in resulting fines.
Many of the lawsuit’s claims mirrored a similar case for which Eyman apologized in 2002, after it was revealed that he had lied about being paid with funds from the initiative’s donors. He paid $55,000 in fines and was barred from serving as treasurer of a political committee.
“I have said all there is to say about Tim Eyman’s outrageous and illegal conduct,” Ferguson said in a written statement. “Eyman will never take responsibility for his actions, because any acknowledgment of wrongdoing would harm his attempts to extract additional money from his supporters.”