SEATTLE (AP) — Watch salesman turned anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman, who was found responsible last year for “numerous and particularly egregious” violations of campaign finance law, has been forced to 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 proceeds of $900,000 will be used to pay 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 vin from a signature-collecting company, had secretly transferred money between initiative campaigns and concealed the source of other political contributions.
In the history of Washington state’s campaign finance law, “it would be difficult for the Court to conceive of a more flagrant or sweeping case of misconduct,” the Washington Superior Court judge wrote. Thurston County, James Dixon.
Eyman was ordered to pay more than $2.9 million in legal fees to cover the cost of Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s years-long investigation and prosecution.
Eyman described the sanctions against him as “ridiculously unconstitutional and absurdly excessive” in an email to the newspaper.
Eyman paid about $538,000 in fines and costs, but still owes more than $5.6 million, including accrued interest, according to Ferguson’s office.
Eyman filed for bankruptcy just before his trial. In December, a U.S. bankruptcy judge declared Eyman in default and ordered his bankruptcy case transferred from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. Chapter 7 means the court appoints a trustee to sell Eyman’s assets and distribute the proceeds to its debtors.
Eyman was also prohibited from directing the finances of any type of political committee. Eyman has long argued that such a sentence would be a fatal blow to his career as a political activist. But after the decision, he backtracked, saying he would change his political committee’s paperwork, but “the rest will remain the same”.
Eyman continued to write 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. .
The case dates back to a 2012 investigation by the state’s campaign finance watchdog, the Public Disclosure Commission. He was fired to Ferguson in 2015, and he filed a lawsuit in 2017.
Eyman was held in contempt of court for two years for refusing to cooperate with the trial, and he paid over $300,000 in fines.
Many of the claims in the lawsuit mirrored a similar case for which Eyman apologized in 2002, after it was revealed he had lied about paying himself from the initiative’s donor funds. He was fined $55,000 and banned from being treasurer of a political committee.
“I have said everything there is to say about Tim Eyman’s outrageous and unlawful conduct,” Ferguson said in a written statement. “Eyman will never take responsibility for his actions, as any admission of wrongdoing would undermine his attempts to extract additional dollars from his supporters.”
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