Watch salesman Tim Eyman, a promoter of tax initiatives, who was found liable last year for “numerous and particularly gross” violations of the campaign finance law, has been forced to sell his house 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.
The $900,000 proceeds will go toward paying more than $5.6 million in penalties and legal fees he owes Washington State and other creditors.
Eyman was fined more than $2.6 million in February 2021 after a Thurston County judge found he had enriched himself by laundering political donations, accepted bribes from a signature collection company, secretly funneled money between initiative campaigns and had hidden the source of other political contributions.
In the history of the Washington State Campaign Finance Act, “it would be difficult for the Court to come up with a misconduct case that is more blatant or more elaborate,” wrote Thurston County Supreme Court Justice James Dixon.
Eyman was ordered to pay more than $2.9 million in legal fees to cover the costs of Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s years of investigation and prosecution.
Eyman described the sentences against him as “ridiculously unconstitutional and absurdly excessive” in an email to the newspaper.
Eyman has paid approximately $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 US bankruptcy judge in December declared Eyman in default and ordered that his bankruptcy case be moved from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. Chapter 7 means that the court appoints a trustee responsible for selling Eyman’s assets and dividing the proceeds to his debtors.
Eyman was also prohibited from managing the finances of any political committee. Eyman long argued that such a verdict would be a death knell for his career as a political activist. But after the verdict, he came back and said he would change the paperwork in his political committee, but the “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 funds from political committees, or negotiate with vendors.
This case goes back to a 2012 investigation by the state’s campaign finance watchdog, the Public Disclosure Commission. It was referred to Ferguson in 2015, and he filed a lawsuit in 2017.
Eyman was held for two years on contempt of court for refusing to cooperate in the lawsuit, and he paid more than $300,000 in fines.
Many of the claims in the lawsuit reflected a similar case for which Eyman apologized in 2002 after it was revealed he lied about paying initiative donors money. He paid $55,000 in fines and was banned from serving as treasurer of a political committee.
“I have said everything there is to say about Tim Eyman’s excessive and illegal behavior,” Ferguson said in a written statement. “Eyman will never take responsibility for his actions because any admission of wrongdoing would undermine his efforts to pry extra dollars from his supporters.”