- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked two state courts on Thursday to force initiative sponsor Tim Eyman to turn over business, banking and tax records as part of an investigation of campaign-finance practices.

Ferguson said he filed petitions in Snohomish and Thurston County Superior Courts asking them to enforce subpoenas issued in the case, seeking documents pertaining to Eyman; his political committees; his for-profit company; and the for-profit signature gathering company Citizen Solutions.

“Tim Eyman and Citizen Solutions refuse to cooperate with my investigation,” Ferguson said in a news release. “I will not accept that.”

Eyman has turned over a “smattering” of records, heavily redacted, Ferguson said, but Eyman’s attorney never sought a protective order for sensitive records. The failure to turn over the documents has “essentially stalled” the investigation, he said.

Eyman’s attorney, Mark Lamb, said he invited Ferguson to examine Eyman’s personal tax returns at his office, but he doesn’t want to turn them over for fear they might become public.

It’s not clear how they might become public; personal financial information, including bank and tax records, typically isn’t subject to release under the Public Records Act.

Lamb said he wants a guarantee they will stay private and didn’t feel his client should have to incur the costs associated with seeking out a protection order.

“The State has been investigating my clients for four years and has filed no charges,” Lamb said in a written statement. “Instead, last year, the Attorney General demanded Mr. and Mrs. Eyman’s personal tax returns. … On this principle of personal privacy, I feel it necessary to litigate this matter. The AG has the right to review Mr. Eyman’s tax returns but I do not believe his returns should be made public.”

Eyman has proposed numerous tax-limiting initiatives over the years. Last fall, after a three-year investigation, the state Public Disclosure Commission said it discovered several potential violations of campaign-finance law and forwarded the information to the attorney general.

The findings included allegations that Eyman used $170,000 in contributions to a political committee for living expenses; that his political committees failed to accurately report contributions and expenditures; and that about half of $623,000 in payments from one of Eyman’s political committees to Citizen Solutions was actually passed along to Eyman’s for-profit company.

Lamb said at the time that the PDC’s findings mischaracterized and omitted evidence, and that Eyman believed all required information was reported.

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