Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan has been named in a lawsuit filed by Washington’s Attorney General alleging violation of campaign disclosure laws in his dealings with frequent initiative collaborator Tim Eyman.
The lawsuit, filed in Thurston Superior Court, names Eyman, Mike Fagan, Jack Fagan and Barbara Smith in their roles as officials with three political committees touting fiscally conservative policies that have included cheaper vehicle license fees and lower taxes.
The Attorney General’s Office alleges that reports filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission beginning in January failed to disclose who had provided roughly $300,000 in campaign contributions and expenses, and that personal loans from Eyman and others to the committees were also not properly reported on campaign financial statements.
The lawsuit does not accuse Mike Fagan of any illegal activity in connection with his personal political campaigns as a member of the Spokane City Council.
The councilman said Thursday he’s collaborated with Eyman for 16 years but was not involved in preparing the disclosure forms handed over to the state. Smith served as treasurer for the three committees, and her signature appears at the bottom of their financial disclosure statements. Fagan also said his organizations have had to revise reports in the past, based on conversations with the Public Disclosure Commission.
“We try to hold hands as best we can with those authorities,” Fagan said in an interview, referring comment on the pending investigation to his attorney. “Our reporting is consistent with the law.”
Eyman, a Washington State University alum and Mukilteo resident, has previously run afoul of campaign finance laws in his efforts pushing both ballot and legislative initiatives that mostly seek to lower taxes, especially as they relate to transportation. In August, a Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled that Eyman had disobeyed a court order to turn over campaign disclosure documents from other political committees.
In a written statement issued last week when the lawsuit was filed, Eyman said he was committed to working with the Public Disclosure Commission to ensure compliance with the law.
The original complaints against Eyman and Fagan’s committee were brought by the groups Keep Washington Rolling and Washingtonians for Ethical Government. The latter group is co-chaired by Andrew Villeneuve, a Redmond-based political activist and member of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
Under Washington state law, the Attorney General’s Office has 55 days to take action on a public disclosure complaint before the group or private citizen filing the complaint can take the alleged offender to court.
A hearing in the case has been scheduled for January. If found guilty, Eyman, the Fagans and Smith could be fined up to $10,000 for each violation.
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