Initiative profiteer Tim Eyman has decided that this year, rather than tell his supporters he’s going to ask for donations if he’s successful, and then, despite failure, ask anyway, that he’ll start a little early.
Eyman is helping himself to a $3,100-a-week salary from campaign contributions to his new initiative, which would open up the state to gambling and pretend to cut state property taxes by $400 million.
For the next 15 weeks, until the July 2nd petition deadline, Eyman will collect about $46,500 total in funds. This new revelation is not shocking or monumental. Rather, it is just another confirmation that Eyman’s initiative factory has always been about business and not about policy.
It all started back when Eyman pocketed $200,000 of his supporters’ donations and lied about taking the money. He was forced to admit what he had been doing after persistent work by critic Christian Sinderman to alert the media.
Eyman then said he wanted to begin taking a salary for his work. So in December of 2002, touting his new “wildly popular” Initiative 807 (as Tim himself described it in an email to supporters) he promised to take a salary only if they were successful in getting I-807 on the ballot.
Initiative 807 didn’t get on the ballot, mainly because of a lack of contributions, lack of interest, and a number of mistakes committed by Eyman.
But that didn’t matter to Tim. Even though the watchmaker from Mukilteo had not registered as a paid lobbyist, he decided to collect money for his “effective work for taxpayers” and pocket it.
From July 2003 until December 2004, Eyman accepted donations for himself and the Fagans to pay “Voters Want More Choices” for NOT getting on the ballot.
Tim never did any effective lobbying. He took credit for the efforts of Senator Dino Rossi, Senator Pam Roach, and Governor Gary Locke, who each directly or indirectly worked towards the same thing Tim wanted: a no-new taxes budget.
Except Tim couldn’t prevent the nickel gas tax from being enacted, and so he promised “revenge”. Initiative 864 is supposedly his revenge, although that initiative effort looks extremely shaky… hence the conveniently timed gambling initiative.
And now, 2004. Tim is working together with the gambling industry and helping himself to their funding- with or without their blessing. Tim plans to collect almost half of $100,000 in just fifteen weeks- more than some people make in a year.
Clearly, Tim Eyman does not mind helping himself. And that’s what Tim’s initiative factory has always been about.