Tim Eyman again borrows against his house as a fundraising gimmick for his latest initiative

Tim Eyman acknowledged today that he is moving forward with his latest unconstitutional initiative by loaning his campaign committee a quarter of a million dollars, presumably so that he can begin a signature drive for the measure.

Eyman is once again borrowing against his house, as he has in years past – or at least that’s what he’s told reporters like the Everett Herald’s Jerry Cornfield. The quarter of a million dollar check was reported by Eyman’s treasurer yesterday as a cash donation (see the C3) but Eyman says it’s really a loan, and the PDC reports that treasurer Barbara J. Smith filed will need to be corrected to reflect this.

A reasonable person might think that after being involved in campaigns for some fifteen years (going back to the late nineties) Tim Eyman would have figured out how to run a squeaky clean operation, be in compliance with our public disclosure laws, and report contributions, expenditures, and loans correctly the first time.

Sadly, it’s apparent that Eyman doesn’t care about following the law, just as he doesn’t care about the constitutionality of his initiatives. Eyman doesn’t care how inaccurate or misleading his reports are.

There’s another irregularity on that C3 that caught our attention.

Contributors who donate large amounts of money to a campaign are, under the law, supposed to state their occupation. The C3 filed by Barbara J. Smith yesterday lists Eyman’s occupation as “Retired”.

Seriously? That’s what they put? Retired from what? Selling watches?

Tim Eyman is not retired. He is employed on a full time basis as as a public services demolition expert, in the tradition of Grover Norquist. (“Professional activist” would be more charitable, but we’re not sure how Eyman can be called a professional given how sloppily run his campaign committees are).

Eyman does not do initiatives as a hobby. He does initiatives full time, with the aim of profiting from his campaigns. As he told the AP’s David Ammons in 2002 after he admitted taking supporter donations for his own personal use: “I want to continue to advocate issues and I want to make a lot of money doing it.”

If he is able to successfully run a paid signature drive on this latest measure, he will have two initiatives on the ballot this year for the first time since 2000. And one of those initiatives, I-517, is explicitly intended to help him run more and cheaper initiatives in the future.

Eyman’s initiative factory is a lucrative profit machine. Last year, he and his buddies reported that they spent $1.2 million on the I-1185 signature drive. But we know from talking to petitioners on that campaign that they were only paid a dollar a signature. And less than 350,000 signatures were submitted. So if the petitioners got less than a third of the money that was spent on the signature drive, where’d the rest go? It seems reasonable to assume it ended up in the pockets of Eyman and his associates.

It appears to us that I-1185 funds were also used for the I-517 signature drive. This and other irregularities regarding the I-517 campaign’s PDC reporting were documented in a complaint filed by Tacoma activist Sherry Bockwinkel in August of last year, which alleged that Eyman and his associates violated our public disclosure laws.

The PDC announced several weeks ago that it had formally opened an inquiry and would investigate the complaint.

Tim Eyman’s eleven all-time top wealthy benefactors over the years are as follows:

  1. Michael Dunmire
  2. Kemper Freeman, Jr.
  3. Beer Institute
  4. Great Canadian Gaming
  5. Michaels Development
  6. British Petroleum
  7. Tesoro
  8. ConocoPhillips
  9. Equilon/Shell
  10. Wes Lematta
  11. American Beverage Association

We’ve been anticipating that Eyman would move forward with this latest initiative. Accordingly, we will be organizing to fight it.

Washington State simply cannot afford any more destructive Eyman initiatives intended to eviscerate our public services and sabotage our Constitution.

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