Maybe this is why the AG sabotaged my defense – read Richard Sanders’ brilliant opening statement
I’m extremely fortunate that my attorney — former supreme court justice Richard Sanders — has the guts to represent me against the Attorney General (AG) in this case.
Nearly 2 years ago, the AG bullied my previous attorney off the case (KIRO: AG blocks Eyman from hiring any lawyer mynorthwest.com/1245537/tim-eyman-legal-counsel).
For almost a year after that, I was forced to represent myself. The AG’s legal team hit me with a blizzard of motions. I had no idea what I was doing. I lost motion after motion.
I was in a deep, deep hole.
But then, late last year, Richard Sanders agreed to represent me. Ever since then, he’s been battling with the AG on my behalf.
Here’s how it looked on Monday:
When Richard gave his opening statement, he spoke off the cuff at a podium with papers in front of him:
Claim based solely on RCW 42.17A, statute designed to provide voter education regarding contributions to and expenditures by candidates and ballot measures in electoral campaigns.
The operative and relevant facts are much narrower than the length and breadth of this litigation would suggest. We don’t need hundreds of exhibits and thousands of deposition pages to understand the State doesn’t have a case under the clear language of the Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA).
The facts will show Mr. Eyman did not violate this statute.
Mr. Eyman has promoted a large number of initiative campaigns and is more experienced than anyone else in this state.
The Act requires campaigns for candidates and ballot measures be run through a registered political committee. Mr. Eyman and other officers formed proper political committees for them. Each political committee has a treasurer and other officers. Mr. Eyman was never the treasurer.
Between 2003 and 2014 the treasurer for every political committee was Stan Long.
The State doesn’t talk about the treasurer, who he is or what he does under the Act. With good reason.
The State doesn’t mention Stan Long although only the treasurer is legally responsible for and required by the Act to make campaign reports. Mr. Eyman is not the treasurer but saw to it that his political committees had a very qualified professional serving in that capacity.
Stan Long was an attorney, a CPA and a former IRS investigator. Mr. Eyman looked up to Mr. Long, and trusted his judgment.
The facts will show that every relevant transaction reported by Mr. Long to the PDC was accurately and timely reported. That reporting was solely Mr. Long’s responsibility and absolutely not Mr. Eyman’s responsibility. In fact, the evidence will show the State obtained a permanent injunction against Mr. Eyman from ever being a treasurer to a political committee.
Mr. Long served as treasurer for all of these political committees until his tragic death in a December 2014 auto accident.
The facts will show Mr. Eyman sometimes loaned his own money to his own political committees. Loans to political campaign committees are risky. His loans to these committees were fully and accurately reported to the PDC by treasurer Stan Long. Mr. Eyman relied on Mr. Long’s experience, knowledge, and judgment to properly file complete reports.
On some occasions, the political committee took years to repay its loans to Mr. Eyman. Sometimes his main benefactor Mike Dunmire bailed Tim out by paying the loan when the committee couldn’t. Mr. Dunmire was a hedge fund manager and a wealthy man until 2009 when the market crashed. Thereafter, he told Tim he could no longer be his backstop. All political donations, expenditures, and loan repayments by Mr. Dunmire were properly reported by treasurer Stan Long.
In 2012, Mr. Eyman and his fellow officers formed a political committee called “Voters want More Choices—Save the 2/3’s (Mike Fagan)” to promote I-1185. That initiative restricted the legislature’s ability to raise taxes by requiring a 2/3 legislative vote. This was a popular measure with the business community which made independent expenditures to Citizen Solutions LLC to gather enough signatures along with funds donated to and expended by the committee directly. Every penny of those independent expenditures and contributions directly to the committee were timely and accurately reported by treasurer Stan Long. Unquestionably!
During the signature gathering campaign, Mr. Eyman received an email from Edward Agazarm who explained that the committee could stick with the contract price of $1,050,000 but due to competition from initiative campaigns in other states, he recommended a price increase to keep petitioners in Washington. After consulting with the committee’s officers, Mr. Eyman agreed to the increase. In the final days of the signature drive, Mr. Agazarm emailed Mr. Eyman that due to a well-funded signature drive for a Charter School Initiative campaign was paying much more per signature, an additional increase was recommended. Mr. Eyman asked “if we don’t agree to this, will we make it?” The response: “maybe, but it’d be risky.” After consulting with the committee’s officers, Mr. Eyman agreed to the increase. The signature drive was a success, the goal was met, the campaign turned in enough signatures to qualify. And the initiative was later passed by the voters, receiving more votes than any initiative in state history (more votes than Inslee got, more than Obama got).
All expenditures, direct and in-kind, were accurately reported to the PDC by treasurer Stan Long. To the penny.
In early July, Mr. Eyman and Citizen Solutions LLC entered into a consulting agreement. Mr. Eyman’s consulting company, “Tim Eyman Watchdog for Taxpayers LLC” agreed to secure future clients for Citizen Solutions services. The agreement was for 3 years. Citizen Solutions used its own money it recently earned to pay Mr. Eyman for his services. Mr. Eyman reported this as ordinary income to the IRS. Mr. Eyman informed the committee’s treasurer Stan Long about the transaction and he determined that the committee had no duty to report the transaction between a vendor and a sub vendor, just as he didn’t report the sub vendors that were paid to collect I-1185 signatures.
After receiving Citizen Solutions’ consulting fee, Mr. Eyman’s LLC loaned money to “Citizens in Charge,” a political advocacy group that promoted initiatives all over the country. The loan was intended to build a business relationship and to get future clients for Citizen Solutions. Mr. Eyman was also hopeful that the organization would help “Protect your Right to Vote on Initiatives” I-517 which facilitated the initiative process. Watchdog loaned the organization a total of $200,000. There was no binding agreement that the loaned money be spent in any particular way, however Mr. Eyman hoped the loaned money would put the organization in a better financial position to help support I-517. It is, or should be, uncontested this was a loan which was to be repaid, which it substantially was. Mr. Eyman wanted his loan repaid – his longtime supporter Mike Dunmire wasn’t going to bail him out again.
As I’ve already said, Mr. Eyman had other business reasons for making the loan. This was a national organization which ran initiative campaigns all over the United States. This was an opportunity to get Citizen Solutions hired as per his consulting agreement, and perhaps they would hire Mr. Eyman as a paid consultant for their campaigns.
In 2012, Citizens in Charge hired and paid directly various petitioning firms to collect signatures for I-517. They spent $180,000. They did not hire Citizen Solutions LLC. Citizens in Charge relayed the amounts of these expenditures to Mr. Eyman who in turn disclosed them to the committee’s treasurer Stan Long who timely and accurately reported them. The principle of Citizens in Charge, Paul Jacob, came to Washington and discussed Mr. Eyman’s loan and the organization’s in-kind donations with the committee’s treasurer Stan Long who determined the law didn’t require the loans be included on the reports.
The State claims this was a concealed contribution to I-517 by Mr. Eyman. However, the facts will show that this was a loan, a loan required to be repaid, and actually was repaid in substantial part. And under the law, loans to political contributors are not reportable in kind or otherwise. Every credit card transaction is a loan but is always reported in the name of the card holder, never the bank. Citizens in Charge had no legal duty to spend the loaned money in any particular way. And Mr. Eyman had no authority to put it on a campaign report even if he wanted to. Only the treasurer could do that and Mr. Eyman wasn’t the treasurer.
If Mr. Long had decided to include Watchdog’s loans to Citizens in Charge on the committee’s campaign reports, it wouldn’t have bothered Mr. Eyman a bit. He had loaned his own money to political committees in the past and treasurer Stan Long had always reported them. Mr. Eyman had nothing to hide.
The second claim by the State is that Mr. Eyman asks his friends and supporters to give money directly to him and his family to help them. The State is correct that Mr. Eyman has done that. But none of that money he received went to anything but his family’s personal living expenses – none of it went to a political campaign. Mr. Eyman consulted with professionals, including treasurer Stan Long, about the gifts he was receiving and it was determined they were not political donations.
We will call several people who helped Mr. Eyman and his family and they will tell the court exactly what their intention was.
In summary, the facts will show that Mr. Eyman is a man of modest means, who promotes citizen initiatives and has gambled his own money to help make them successful, who made sure his committees had a highly skilled treasurer to fulfill all the required reporting obligations, and who has consulted with and relied on professionals to ensure the public disclosure laws are followed by his political committees.
At the conclusion of the case, we will ask that the amended complaint be dismissed and that Mr. Eyman recover his reasonable attorney fees. Thank you, your Honor.
See what I mean? Richard is amazing.
I really need your help to survive this. If they take me out, who will dare challenge them? I am so incredibly grateful for your prayers and support during this very difficult time for me and my family.
Please help by donating to my legal defense fund here:
In addition, we’re still working really hard to deliver $30 Tabs.
We’re asking folks to donate to our PAC so we can get paid back. Also, donations to our PAC will pay for attorney Stephen Pidgeon’s “Motion for Reconsideration.” Please help these efforts by donating online:
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Olympia, WA, 98507
I love you all.