Good morning. I’m Anne Levinson, Chair of the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. The PDC is the state agency responsible for overseeing and enforcing our state’s campaign finance and disclosure laws. I want to thank the Attorney General for taking the action that he has announced here today.
This case is one of the most egregious the PDC has seen. After our staff’s investigation into these matters, the Commission unanimously referred these cases to the Attorney General and requested that he take any and all appropriate legal action he has within his authority. The Commission also requested that the Attorney General’s Office expand the investigation and prosecution to address any actions taken by Mr. Eyman and his colleagues prior or subsequent to the time period covered by the complaint made to the PDC, and include any additional charges warranted by that expanded time period. Our decision was based on a very detailed staff investigation, as well as on Mr. Eyman’s refusal while being interviewed under oath to answer questions about his compensation, and his refusal to produce records subpoenaed by the PDC until he was forced to by further enforcement action.
The Commission was extremely troubled that it appeared that Mr. Eyman intended to hide from the public the sources of funds and the actual purposes for which expenditures were made, and to further conceal that he used funds solely for his personal use. Given his creation of multiple LLCs and committees, his explanations that he did not intend to hide the sources or uses of funds strained credibility. Nor, given his many years of initiative activity, could he legitimately claim that his actions were due to a lack of experience in filing the required campaign disclosure reports or in understanding the allowable uses of campaign donations. The Commission advised the Attorney General that Mr. Eyman’s actions and operations appeared to be an intentional disregard for campaign finance and disclosure laws, laws which were enacted by the voters of our state to put a stop to conduct such as this. It also did not go unnoticed that the purported purpose of his initiatives was to protect the very public that was being harmed by violations of these laws.
Considering the possible multiple violations of the law, as well as Mr. Eyman’s prior history with the PDC, frequent and repeated use of the initiative process, and the likelihood of an intentional, ongoing pattern over multiple years, the Commission felt strongly that prosecution by the Attorney General was called for to enforce compliance with the law in a manner that would hold Mr. Eyman accountable for his actions, deter future misconduct, and protect the public.
Our state’s campaign finance and disclosure laws are premised on the principle that the public deserves to know who is funding political campaigns, who is spending money to influence their vote. Mr. Eyman has an obligation to obey the law. When he, or others, do not, the Public Disclosure Commission and the Attorney General have an obligation on behalf of the public to take all necessary steps to ensure the integrity of our electoral system.