Politics & Government

Legal bills mount for Tim Eyman, anti-tax initiative campaign partners

Legal bills for Tim Eyman and his longtime anti-tax initiative campaign partners are starting to pile up.

A lawyer defending Eyman against allegations he broke campaign-finance laws was paid $150,000 on Oct. 2 by the committee backing Initiative 1366, the Eyman anti-tax measure on the November ballot, according to a campaign filing Tuesday.

Mark Lamb, who owns North Creek Law Firm, described that payment as a deposit to represent the I-1366 campaign committee, not Eyman personally.

“That money is segregated. It is not used for Tim’s purposes at all,” Lamb said. He said his firm will bill Eyman separately.

Lamb said he was retained by Jack and Mike Fagan, officers of Voters Want More Choices, the campaign committee running I-1366. The Fagans, a father and son from Spokane, have long helped Eyman run his anti-tax initiative campaigns.

Both Eyman and Voters Want More Choices were named in a Public Disclosure Commission investigative report last month.

The PDC staff report found Eyman has received secret payments from a Lacey paid-signature-gathering firm and accused him of illegally using campaign money for personal expenses.

Through his attorney, Eyman has denied wrongdoing.

The allegations are now under review by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office.

The new campaign filing Tuesday also shows the I-1366 campaign recently repaid a $250,000 loan from Eyman. In an email to supporters in September, Eyman said he’d made the loan, which helped pay for signature gatherers, by taking out a second mortgage on his house.

I-1366, which is on the Nov. 3 ballot, would cut the state’s 6.5-cent sales tax by a penny, reducing state revenues by $8 billion over six years, unless the Legislature sends a tax-limiting constitutional amendment to the 2016 ballot by April 15.

That amendment would reinstate a two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases approved by the Legislature, except for those sent to a public vote.

The two-thirds requirement has been endorsed by voters three times since 2007.

But the last initiative imposing the supermajority rule was struck down as unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in 2013 — leaving a constitutional amendment as the only way to reinstate the limit.

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