PDC votes to refer case against Tim Eyman to Attorney General Bob Ferguson

This morning in Olympia, after hearing staff summarize their findings in Case 13-027 (Protect Your Right To Vote On Initiatives and Tim Eyman) and Case 15-078 (Voters Want More Choices and Tim Eyman), the five-member Public Disclosure Commission voted unanimously to refer the matter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson for prosecution, owing to the seriousness of the violations.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman’s initiatives for over thirteen and a half years, applauded the PDC’s action and urged the Attorney General to swiftly follow up by initiating legal proceedings against Eyman.

“Today, our Public Disclosure Commission took a crucial, important vote to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his outrageous abuse of our state’s initiative process and repeated, deliberate violations of our cherished public disclosure law,” Villeneuve said.

“As Commissioner Anne Levinson said, the violations alleged in these cases are extremely troubling. The Commission’s statutory authority is simply inadequate to ensure that the punishment fits the crime. We applaud the PDC for referring this grave matter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson with an explicit request to broaden the scope of the state’s investigation to past and present periods.

“Tim Eyman needs to be held accountable for his wrongdoing as well as his stonewalling, which impeded PDC staff from finishing their investigation in time for the 2013 general election two years ago, when I-517 appeared on the ballot. ”

As PDC staff noted in their report, it appears that Eyman has been receiving kickbacks from his associates Citizen Solutions for over a decade, profiting from his own signature drives without disclosing that to the people of Washington State.

In the words of PDC staff:

Finally, staff found evidence that the undisclosed $308,185 payment Mr. Eyman received from Citizen Solutions on July 11, 2012 may have been one in a series of such payments. Staff obtained sworn testimony from Edward Agazarm, a former principal of Citizen Solutions, Incorporated, that on multiple occasions between 2004 and 2011, after paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in committee funds to Citizen Solutions to qualify his initiatives for the ballot, Mr. Eyman then sought and received payments back from the firm ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per campaign. Mr. Agazarm testified that these payments compensated Mr. Eyman for services he rendered to Citizen Solutions, Incorporated. He stated that among other services, Mr. Eyman was compensated for bringing business to the signature gathering firm, including the business generated by Mr. Eyman’ s own initiative committees.

“For too long, Tim Eyman has operated as though he were above the law, without regard for the consequences,” Villeneuve said.

“Even today, as the Public Disclosure Commission was listening to staff present the allegations against Tim, he was shamelessly sending out yet another email shaking his electronic tin cup. He never quits hitting his followers up for money.”

“The state has repeatedly fined Eyman before for violating our public disclosure law, and even reached an agreement with him that he never again serve as a campaign treasurer, but he has continued to manipulate money himself for electoral purposes using a shell company that he controls, as PDC staff have documented.”

“Tim Eyman’s wealthy benefactors may not be bothered by his run-ins with the law, but we as a people can no longer tolerate his abusive behavior and destructive schemes to wreck our government.”

“It is our fervent hope that the Attorney General will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law, and win a conviction. As the Spokesman-Review has editorialized, ‘If Eyman is found guilty of these charges, he should forever be banished from initiative campaigns.'”

Posted in Eye on Money: Developments, Statements & Advisories | Tagged , , ,

PDC investigation finds Tim Eyman broke Washington’s public disclosure law, again

This morning, the staff of the Public Disclosure Commission released the results of the agency’s long-running investigation into Tim Eyman’s I-517, the initiative on initiatives Eyman qualified in 2012, which was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in November of 2013. PDC staff found Eyman and his initiative factory repeatedly violated RCW 42.17A by concealing the source of the I-517 campaign’s funding, and are recommending that the Commission refer the case to Attorney General Bob Ferguson for prosecution.

The investigation, initiated by a complaint filed three years ago by activist Sherry Bockwinkel of Tacoma, stretched on for two and a half years, and was slowed by Tim Eyman’s refusal to fully cooperate and turn over records sought by PDC staff in a timely fashion. State attorneys were ultimately called upon to assist the PDC in enforcing its subpoena power, and last week, Eyman turned over a number of records to the state, resulting in the postponement of the hearings that had been scheduled on the matter in Thurston and Snohomish County Superior Courts.

“We’re very pleased that the PDC has finally finished its investigation into Tim Eyman’s I-517 and has concluded that Tim Eyman must be held accountable for concealing campaign money,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for thirteen and a half years. NPI has been in regular contact with PDC staff about the investigation; in May of 2014, Villeneuve traveled down to Olympia and testified alongside several representatives of Washington’s business community, expressing concern that the investigation was still unresolved.

“The documentation collected by the PDC and published as exhibits to its findings confirms what we have long known to be true: Tim Eyman used contributions made in support of the campaign for his last I-601 clone, I-1185, to qualify I-517, a self-serving initiative intended to make it easier and cheaper for him to qualify future initiatives to the ballot in Washington State,” said Villeneuve. “Tim Eyman deliberately chose to run a stealth campaign in violation of our state’s public disclosure law, deceiving his own donors and withholding information about his activities from the public.”

“At long last, Tim Eman’s misdeeds are catching up to him,” Villeneuve added. “The day of reckoning has come. We emphatically urge the Public Disclosure Commission to adopt the staff’s recommendation that this case be referred to the Attorney General for prosecution. The wrongdoing detailed in these findings is part of a pattern of behavior that stretches back to nearly the beginning of Eyman’s career.”

In February of 2002, Eyman admitted having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from campaign funds for his own personal use while at the same time lying to the press, the public, and his own followers in claiming that he was working as a volunteer.

“It was the biggest lie of my life” that no donations had made their way into his personal bank account, Eyman told The Associated Press’ Dave Ammons, admitting, “The fact is, it is true that I made money in past campaigns and planned to make money on future campaigns.” Ammons also memorably reported that Eyman told him: “I want to continue to advocate issues and I want to make a lot of money doing it.”

Eyman has certainly profited handsomely from his initiative factory over the years. As PDC staff note in their findings, it appears Eyman has been double-dipping for a long time. He pays himself a salary out of campaign funds (which is disclosed in PDC reports), but then he also gets kickbacks from his buddies Eddie Agazarm and Roy Ruffino, who control the shady signature gathering firm Citizen Solutions.

NPI, along with Civic Ventures’ David Goldstein, has long suspected that Eyman gets a cut of the money that is expensed to pay for his signature drives.

Now we know it’s true.

It’s quite the racket: Eyman raises money from wealthy benefactors on a near-annual basis to fund a signature drive for an ill-conceived scheme to wreck government, telling them he needs over a million dollars to qualify for the ballot, when in reality, he needs less. This ensures that when the drive is completed, there is plenty of money left over for Eyman’s associates to pocket as profit, and to send back to Eyman for his personal use… or, in the case of the I-1185 campaign, to qualify a second initiative (I-517) with a stealth signature drive.

Eyman profits whether his initiatives win or lose (and nearly all of them have either been rejected by voters, failed to qualify, or been struck down by the courts).

The case numbers in this matter are 13-027 and 15-078. The Public Disclosure Commission will take up both at its meeting this Thursday, September 24th, at 9:30 AM in 711 Capital Way, Room 206 in Olympia. NPI will be there and is happy to make representatives from its staff, board, and advisory council available to the press to take questions and comment about the cases.

Posted in Eye on Money: Developments, Statements & Advisories | Tagged ,

Statement on the Supreme Court’s order in Huff v. Wyman

This morning, the Washington State Supreme Court rendered a preliminary verdict in Huff v. Wyman, the scope challenge to Tim Eyman’s I-1366. The Court has ruled unanimously that plaintiffs’ request for an injunction should be denied, which we understand means that I-1366 will appear on the November 2015 ballot.

“While we are disappointed in this order, this outcome was not unexpected, and we have continued all summer to lay the groundwork needed for an autumn campaign in partnership with NO on I-1366 coalition staff,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve, who posted a first read of the Court’s order to NPI’s principal publication, the Cascadia Advocate.

(The Cascadia Advocate is a sister project of Permanent Defense).

“I-1366 is the most destructive initiative Tim Eyman has ever proposed,” Villeneuve said. “It would wipe out $8 billion in sales tax revenue over six years unless the Legislature agrees to a constitutional change that would sabotage the Constitution’s majority vote requirement for passage of bills — which dates back to statehood.”

“I-1366 represents an attempt by Tim Eyman to blackmail a significant number of our state’s lawmakers into voting against their values by taking Washington’s youth as hostages. I-1366 is an outrageous abuse of the people’s initiative power, and we are committed to mounting a strong campaign to defeat it in November. We’re ready to bring Washingtonians together to uphold our Constitution and protect the values our state was founded on.”

The growing coalition against I-1366 now includes AARP Washington State, OneAmerica Votes, the Mainstream Republicans of Washington, Washington State Democratic Party, League of Women Voters of Washington, NAMI Washington, and dozens more. An updated list is available from the NO on I-1366 coalition.

In a separate development, Jerry Cornfield of The Herald reported last night that state attorneys have filed a motion in Snohomish County Superior Court seeking to compel Eyman to cooperate with the Public Disclosure Commission’s stalled, long-running investigation into Eyman’s I-517, the 2013 “initiative on initiatives” that Washington voters overwhelmingly defeated. The investigation stems from a complaint filed by activist Sherry Bockwinkel in August of 2012.

“We are pleased to see that Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office is assisting the PDC with its investigation into Tim Eyman and his associates’ wrongdoing,” said Villeneuve. “This complaint is over three years old and should have been resolved long ago, but it’s evident that Tim Eyman and his associates have not been fully cooperating with investigators — despite what they told The Herald. Eyman has a long history of flouting our public disclosure law. It heartens us to see that the PDC hasn’t given up on this case and is pursuing it with the help of our state attorneys. We look forward to seeing the investigation completed.”

Posted in Eye on Money: Developments, From the Campaign Trail, In the Courts | Tagged

AARP Washington State, OneAmerica Votes join coalition fighting I-1366

As of today, we are just two months away from the November 2015 general election. While we remain hopeful that the Washington State Supreme Court will spare us all the time and expense of having to vote on Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-1366, which is well beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power, we continue to make preparations to fight I-1366 in the event the Court does not invalidate it.

The team at NPI and the staff of the NO on I-1366 campaign continue to reach out to potential partners (as we have throughout the summer), and we’re pleased to report our efforts are meeting with success. This week, we’re delighted to welcome AARP Washington State and OneAmerica Votes to the NO on I-1366 coalition.

They join an increasingly long list of organizations and individuals committed to protecting Washington from the devastating short-term harm that would be caused by the loss of $8 billion in sales tax revenue over six years (Scenario 1 of I-1366) or the extremely damaging long-term harm caused by sabotaging our Constitution to allow a submajority of seventeen senators or thirty-three representatives to veto any attempt to raise or recover revenue for our state treasury (Scenario 2 of I-1366).

I-1366 is also opposed by the Washington State Democratic Party, the Mainstream Republicans of Washington State, the League of Women Voters of Washington, the Tri-City Herald, and dozens of other organizations. The evolving list can be viewed at the NO on I-1366 website.

Posted in Endorsements, From the Campaign Trail | Tagged

Understanding Huff v. Wyman, the scope challenge to Tim Eyman’s I-1366

By the end of this week, and possibly as soon as tomorrow, the Washington State Supreme Court is expected to release its decision in Huff v. Wyman, the legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366, filed in late July by King County Elections Director Sherril Huff, Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, State Senator David Frockt, State Representative Reuven Carlyle, and activists Eden Mack, Gerald Reilly, Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, and Paul Bell.

The aforementioned plaintiffs are asking that Secretary of State Kim Wyman be enjoined from placing I-1366 on the November 2015 ballot because the initiative exceeds the scope of the people’s initiative power as defined in Article II, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution. I-1366 would cut sales tax revenue by $8 billion over the next six years, unless, by mid-April of next year, the Legislature agrees to Eyman’s demand for a constitutional change permanently requiring a two-thirds vote of each house to raise or recover revenue.

King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum, who heard the case at the trial court level, found that I-1366 was beyond the scope in a decision issued on August 14th, but declined to set it aside, saying, “The Court cannot say at this time whether Plaintiffs’ actual and substantial injuries outweigh Defendants’ First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution or their rights under Article I, Section 5 of the Washington State Constitution.”

Lum’s decision was immediately appealed to the state Supreme Court. The Court has been asked to render a final verdict no later than this Friday.

Wyman, represented by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office, would like the Supreme Court to keep I-1366 on the ballot, but is not asking for case to be thrown out on a technicality — unlike her co-defendants Tim Eyman, Mike Fagan, and Jack Fagan.

Eyman has tried to equate Huff v. Wyman with Coppernoll v. Reed and Futurewise v. Reed — two previous and ultimately unsuccessful challenges to statewide initiatives (the latter being a pre-election challenge to an initiative he sponsored, I-960).

In an email sent this morning, Eyman claimed: “There have been 2 unanimous state supreme court rulings — Coppernol’s 9-0 decision in 2005 and Futurewise’ 9-0 decision in 2007 — that rejected lawsuits just like this one.”

Eyman is wrong. While it is true that the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the plaintiffs in Coppernoll (note that Coppernoll is spelled with two l’s) and Futurewise, it is not true that Huff and Hall’s case is “just like” those challenges.

In fact, it is very different — as we can see from examining the position taken by the Secretary of State in each of the respective cases.

In Coppernoll, the Secretary of State asserted that the plaintiffs had really filed a substantive challenge, dressed up as a scope challenge.

As the Supreme Court said in its decision:

Here the parties disagree as to the category of preelection review sought by petitioners. Petitioners cast their unconstitutionality claim as a challenge to whether I-330 is validly within the legislative power, whereas respondent secretary of state and intervenor medical groups label the claim as a challenge to the substantive validity of I-330.

In Futurewise, the Secretary of State took a similar position. The following are headings from the Argument section of the table of contents of the Secretary of State’s brief in Futurewise, which neatly sum up the state’s position:

  • Appellants’ Challenge To 1-960 Is Not Within The Narrow Exception For Pre-Election Challenges To Proposed Initiatives
    • Pre-Election Challenges May Proceed Only Under Two Narrowly-Proscribed Circumstances; Neither Of Which Arise In This Case
    • A Challenge That An Initiative “Exceeds The Scope Of The Initiative Power” Is Limited To Challenges Based On The Extent And Nature Of Legislative Authority
    • The Challenge To Initiative 960 Fails For The Same Reasons Stated In Coppernoll

In this case, however, the Secretary of State has taken the position that the plaintiffs’ scope challenge is properly before the courts — which is extremely significant. From the state’s brief to the Supreme Court in Huff v. Wyman:

This Pre-Election Challenge To I-1366 Merits Judicial Resolution Despite Issues Of Standing

[…] the Secretary of State asserts that this matter is properly before this Court for final determination. Plaintiffs seek to enjoin I-1366 from the 2015 general election ballot based on the assertion that it is beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power.

The plaintiffs, represented by an experienced team from Pacifica Law Group led by Paul Lawrence, point out in their own reply brief that they have brought their challenge solely on scope grounds, and no other:

Appellants have carefully crafted this litigation to focus only on whether the subject matter of 1-1366 is within the initiative power… Appellants do not argue that if enacted, 1-1366 would be unconstitutional, although that is certainly true.

The subject of I-1366 is not appropriate for direct legislation by the people, because as the trial court found, the fundamental and overriding purpose is to invoke the Article XXIII constitutional amendment process. As such, I-1366 exceeds the scope of Article II and should not be placed on the ballot.

Simply put, Huff v. Wyman is a solidly conceived scope challenge that even the State acknowledges has been properly brought. It is thus very different from the challenges brought in Coppernoll in 2005, or Futurewise in 2007.

While scope challenges to initiatives at the local level have been brought on many occasions, scope challenges at the state level are rare. This is partly because the people’s legislative power is less constrained at the state level than it is at the local level.

However, it is vital to understand that the people’s legislative power does not extend to amending the Constitution. Proposing constitutional amendments is the prerogative of the Legislature, and the Legislature’s alone. Article XXIII of the Constitution is very clear on this point.

As Tim Eyman ironically cannot muster a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate for the amendment he wants, he is attempting to get his way through blackmail. I-1366 is a deliberate attempt to invoke the constitutional amendment process through coercion. Because it attempts to force the Legislature to propose a certain amendment by a certain date, it is beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power. This is the basis on which plaintiffs are arguing that it should be set aside.

There is precedent for a scope challenge to a statewide initiative. In 1996, in Philadelphia II v. Gregoire, the Washington State Supreme Court considered a challenge to a statewide initiative that attempted to create a federal initiative process and call a world meeting. The Court found the initiative to be outside of the scope, and blocked it from moving forward.

While it is true that the initiative in that case had not received sufficient signatures to qualify at the time it was litigated, I-1366 doesn’t deserve a pass merely because Tim Eyman was able to convince some extraordinarily wealthy people to give him money to purchase a spot for I-1366 on the November 2015 ballot.

The plaintiffs in this case view I-1366 as an outrageous abuse of the people’s initiative power. So do we. It is appropriate that the Supreme Court determine whether I-1366 is outside the scope, as the trial court found. If it is, the Court should enjoin Secretary of State Kim Wyman from placing it on the ballot.

Tim Eyman has a First Amendment right to petition any level of government in this country for a redress of grievances. He also has a right to speak freely.

But he does not have a First Amendment right to force the rest of us to vote on whatever ill-conceived schemes he comes up with to sabotage our Constitution and destroy the essential public services that we all rely on. No lawmaker, whether elected or unelected, is outside the law. And the Constitution of Washington State is the highest law in the land, second only in supremacy to the United States Constitution.

The plaintiffs note in their reply brief that Eyman’s First Amendment argument is without merit:

Indeed, despite Sponsors’ rhetoric, they do not dispute that no Washington court has ever concluded that the First Amendment or Article I, Section 5 require all initiatives to be placed on the ballot regardless of their scope.

There is simply no basis in law for Eyman’s argument, as the brief goes on to explain at significant length, citing numerous cases, including U.S. Supreme Court cases. In fact, the very argument Eyman is making was rejected by the Washington Court of Appeals (Division 2) in City of Longview v. Wallin (2013), a holding the Supreme Court subsequently let stand when it declined to take the case.

The Supreme Court should uphold our Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances by invalidating I-1366 on scope grounds. Allowing this extortion scheme to head to the ballot would set a dangerous “anything goes” precedent with regards to statewide initiatives — to the detriment of our state’s well-being.

Posted in In the Courts | Tagged

Statement on Judge Dean Lum’s decision in Huff v. Wyman

This afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum handed down his opinion in the matter of Huff v. Wyman, the legal challenge seeking to remove Tim Eyman’s I-1366 from the November 2015 statewide ballot on the grounds that it exceeds the scope of the people’s initiative power. While the judge declined to grant plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction barring I-1366 from the ballot (see this analysis from the Cascadia Advocate), he did find I-1366 beyond the scope.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve released the following statement in response to the decision.

“We are heartened by Judge Lum’s unequivocal finding that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power. As we have said all along, I-1366 is a hostage-taking scheme intended to coerce our elected representatives into sabotaging the majority vote requirement of our state Constitution, upsetting our plan of government’s carefully crafted balance between majority rule and minority rights.”

“I-1366 goes well beyond what an initiative is constitutionally allowed to be. As Judge Lum recognized, it is a malicious attempt to set in motion a constitutional amendment by the use of blackmail.”

“Allowing I-1366 to go to the ballot would set a dangerous ‘anything goes’ precedent. Though Judge Lum did not grant the plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction barring I-1366 from appearing on the ballot, we are gratified that he has rendered an opinion on the merits of the plaintiffs’ scope challenge. This case now moves to the Supreme Court, and we encourage the Court to uphold our Constitution and stop Tim Eyman’s abuse of the people’s initiative power by removing I-1366 from the ballot.”

Posted in In the Courts | Tagged

NPI’s Permanent Defense applauds legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s I-1366

This morning, a group of plaintiffs, including King County Elections Director Sherril Huff, Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, and Democratic lawmakers David Frockt and Reuven Carlyle filed a lawsuit seeking to block Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-1366 from the ballot because it exceeds the scope of the initiative power as set forth in the Constitution of Washington State.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve had the following to say in response to the commencement of legal proceedings by the plaintiffs, represented by Pacifica Law Group’s Paul Lawrence, Kymberly Evanson, and Sarah Washburn.

“We applaud and fully support the decision by our elected representatives and fellow activists to go to court to have Tim Eyman’s I-1366 blocked from placement on the November 2015 ballot,” said Villeneuve.

“In our view, I-1366 clearly exceeds the scope of the people’s initiative power. It is an attempt to do an end-run around Article XXIII of our state Constitution, which explicitly says that constitutional amendments must originate in the Legislature and receive a two-thirds vote of each house to pass.”

“Tim Eyman has now discovered for himself that two-thirds is a very high bar… and as he doesn’t have the support in either house for an amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision, he’s resorted to blackmail with I-1366.”

“But once again, he’s run afoul of our Constitution. Initiatives can be used to make or amend ordinary laws. The initiative power can’t be used to amend the Constitution. It is the Legislature’s prerogative to propose constitutional amendments to the people. Eyman is infringing on the House and Senate’s constitutional role by trying to coerce the Legislature into exercising its prerogative by threatening to wipe out $8 billion in sales tax revenue over six years if they don’t. Because I-1366 is outside the scope of the initiative power, our courts should remove it from the ballot and spare us all the time and expense of having to vote on Eyman’s illegitimate, illegal hostage-taking scheme.”

Posted in In the Courts | Tagged

Eyman’s I-1366 certified for ballot; jeopardizes $8 billion in revenue through 2021

As required by law, the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) has completed a fiscal impact statement for Tim Eyman’s I-1366, which was today certified for the November 2015 statewide ballot by Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

According to OFM’s analysis, I-1366 is an even greater threat to Washington’s future than previously believed. The 13% sales tax cut that I-1366 would impose if legislators don’t submit to Eyman’s demand for a constitutional amendment to sabotage Article II, Section 22 translates to a loss of $1.4 billion a year in 2017, the first year it would fully be in effect. It only gets worse after that.

Through 2021, Washington’s treasury would be deprived of approximately $8 billion in funding for vital public services like schools and universities.

“OFM’s fiscal impact statement for I-1366 confirms what we’ve been saying for months about I-1366: This is the most destructive, mean-spirited initiative that Tim Eyman has ever qualified for the ballot,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve. “Eyman doesn’t have the votes in the Legislature to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2013 League of Education Voters decision, so he’s resorted to blackmail. And he’s taking Washington’s young people as his hostages.”

“We can see what’s at risk by looking at the state budget. The sales tax is easily our state’s largest single source of tax revenue, supplying nearly half of the money that goes into the general fund. And more than half of the general fund goes to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.”

“Education is our single largest responsibility as a people. And, in the words of our Constitution, it is also our paramount duty. We are obligated, as a society, to make ample provision for the education of Washington’s youth.”

“”The Supreme Court has determined we have not been meeting this obligation and ordered our legislators to act. The slight progress the House and Senate have made to date towards complying with the Court’s McCleary orders is jeopardized by I-1366. Legislators just agreed on a bipartisan basis to put more money into schools and lower tuition. That carefully crafted agreement will be undone in the span of a few months if I-1366’s first scenario comes to pass,” Villeneuve said.

“And under other I-1366’s second scenario, our regressive tax code would be locked into place permanently. As few as seventeen senators – twelve percent of our entire Legislature – could kill any attempt to raise or recover revenue for our state treasury. Our founders strongly believed that decisions like these should be made by the many, not a few. We should honor and uphold the Constitution they gave us by rejecting I-1366.”

OFM’s analysis also determined that funding for implementation of I-900, Tim Eyman’s performance audits initiative from ten years ago, would be cut by Scenario 1 of I-1366. I-900 stipulated that a percentage of state sales tax revenue be dedicated to funding performance audits. Ironically, money for conducting those audits is now at risk along with the other public services that the sales tax funds.

“Tim Eyman has never been concerned with the harmful, messy consequences of his initiatives,” Villeneuve noted. “In his rush to imitate the militant tactics of Ted Cruz and U.S. House Republicans, he thoughtlessly put funding for his own initiative from ten years ago in jeopardy along with funding for education, public safety assistance to local governments, and countless other vital public services.”

“As the old adage goes, Any fool can burn down a barn, but it takes a real carpenter to build one. Tim Eyman has demonstrated he knows how to start fires, but in the span of fifteen years, he has not helped put any out, nor has he contributed to the building of a better Washington. I-1366 represents a new low for his initiative factory.”

Washingtonians have decisively rejected some pretty bad Tim Eyman initiatives in the past, but only when the case to vote no has been effectively made by people and organizations that do care about building a better Washington.

That’s why, since February, the team at NPI has been working to organize and empower Washingtonians from across the political spectrum to fight I-1366.

“We encourage everyone who wants to uphold our Constitution, protect our common wealth, and defend Washington’s values to step up and help us kick the effort to beat I-1366 into high gear,” said Villeneuve. “There’s a lot of work that needs doing between now and when ballots drop. We urge people to get involved in this campaign.”

The growing coalition against I-1366 includes the Washington Association of School Principals, League of Women Voters of Washington, the League of Education Voters, Statewide Poverty Action Network, Washington Environmental Council, Washington State Democratic Party, and many more. An evolving list of organizations opposed to I-1366 is available on the NO on I-1366 website.

Posted in From the Campaign Trail, Rethinking and Reframing, Statements & Advisories, Threat Analysis | Tagged

Facts about I-1366 that Tim Eyman didn’t bother to mention

This morning, Tim Eyman sent an email to the press, taking another opportunity to crow about getting signatures submitted for I-1366 and ostensibly provide information pertaining to the initiative. Here are some very important facts he didn’t bother to share:

  • Initiatives cannot be used to change the state Constitution: Eyman has falsely been calling I-1366 a constitutional amendment initiative. There is no such thing. The initiative power can only be used to create, modify, or repeal statutes. Any change to the Constitution must originate in the Legislature (Article XXIII).
  • Loss to the state treasury starting in April 2016 if the Legislature doesn’t capitulate to Eyman’s demand to sabotage Article II, Section 22 (which requires majority vote to pass all bills): About $1 billion per year
  • The essential public services that would be most harmed by a sudden, massive cut in sales tax revenue: Washington’s public K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities
  • Lowest percentage of the Legislature that could block any change to the tax code they didn’t like under Tim Eyman’s desired rules: 12% (seventeen senators out of one hundred and forty-seven total legislators)
  • Most recent addition to the rapidly-growing NO on I-1366 Coalition roster: The Washington Council of Fire Fighters (added today!)
  • Reported cost of Eyman’s I-1366 signature drive so far: $1 million, exactly (source: Public Disclosure Commission data, last updated June 9th)
    • Cost of petitioner labor: Estimated to be $462,625 (assuming average signature cost of $1.17 multiplied by 337,954 submitted signatures, see this post for more details on the methodology)
    • Cost of coordinators: Estimated at $168,977 (assuming an override of fifty cents per signature for 337,954 signatures)
    • That leaves hundreds of thousands of dollars unaccounted for – and Eyman was recently raising funds to make another $100,000 payment for signature gathering. This money isn’t needed to compensate petitioners or coordinators – so where’s it going?
  • Blast from the past: Our Founding Fathers were strongly for majority rule, and we should be listening to them — not Tim Eyman. Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 22:

    If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, and give a tone to the national proceedings. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good.

More information about the NO on I-1366 coalition is available here.

Posted in Eye on Money: Developments, From the Campaign Trail, Statements & Advisories | Tagged

NO on I-1366 Committee forms; will respond to Tim Eyman’s signature turn-in tomorrow

Efforts to build a broad coalition to stop Tim Eyman’s I-1366 received a major boost today with NPI and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve’s announcement of the formation of a statewide campaign committee to oppose the initiative.

I-1366 would slash the state sales tax by about $1 billion a year in April of 2016 if the Legislature fails by that time to adopt a constitutional amendment permanently sabotaging the Constitution’s requirement that bills receive a majority vote.

“Over the last few months, the team at NPI has worked to assemble a broad coalition to stand up for Washington’s kids against the bad politics of blackmail,” said Villeneuve. “Today, we and our partners are shifting our efforts into higher gear with the formation of NO on Tim Eyman’s I-1366, a statewide campaign committee that will ensure our growing coalition is well served by a capable, bipartisan leadership team.”

NO on Tim Eyman’s I-1366 has five initial officers: Villeneuve, former Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed, former Democratic State Senator Randy Gordon, former Democratic State Representative Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney, and NW Media Allies owner Sue Evans.

Microsoft alum and veteran activist Matt Loschen serves as the committee’s treasurer.

The committee’s C1-PC has been submitted to the Public Disclosure Commission and will soon be available online following processing of the accompanying signature card.

“We are committed to building a campaign that honors and defends the values that Washington was founded upon,” said Villeneuve. “Everyone who believes in upholding majority rule and protecting our state from the destructive politics of hostage taking will be welcome to join our cause, no matter what party they belong to, and no matter what underlying values system they subscribe to.”

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with Matt, Sue, Sam, Phyllis, and Randy on this effort. And I want to thank the many organizations that have already pledged to help defeat I-1366, from the League of Women Voters of Washington and the Statewide Poverty Action Network to the Washington Environmental Council and the Washington State Democratic Party.”

“We are still in the beginning stages of this organizing effort, and we expect to have an even longer roster as we get closer to autumn.”

Tim Eyman has a 3 PM appointment to turn in signatures tomorrow (Thursday), July 2nd, 2015 with the Secretary of State. Following Eyman’s submission of signatures, the committee will outline why it is imperative that voters reject I-1366 and give the media an opportunity to learn more about the coalition’s next steps.

Posted in From the Campaign Trail, Statements & Advisories, Threat Analysis | Tagged
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