Permanent Defense reaches a major milestone: Photos from the Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

Announcements

On February 15th, 2017, Permanent Defense turned fifteen. To celebrate the milestone, we held a special celebration at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent. Here are a collection of photographs from that event, courtesy of NPI’s sister project In Brief.

Placards at the Permanent Defense Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

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King County Assessor John Arthur Wilson speaks at Permanent Defense’s Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

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The celebration of Permanent Defense’s big milestone continues through the end of the month. Now is the perfect time to make a donation to Permanent Defense PAC today to ensure that destructive right wing initiatives get the vigorous and immediate opposition they deserve.

Join us for a very special event to celebrate Permanent Defense’s fifteenth anniversary!

Announcements
Permanent Defense: Fifteen Years
Proudly celebrating fifteen years of fighting right wing initiatives and beating Tim Eyman

On February 15th, 2017, NPI’s Permanent Defense will be turning fifteen (15 on the 15th!)

We’ve been opposing right wing initiatives and fighting Tim Eyman since the early days of the Bush error. And we’ve been victorious in most of the fights we’ve taken on.

We invite you to join us to celebrate this huge milestone and learn about our 2017 work against Eyman’s latest scheme and the plot to take away transgender rights at a very special gathering in the heart of King County.

This is a “pay what you can” event — no admission will be charged, but we’ll be gladly accepting donations to Permanent Defense PAC.

Here are the details:

Permanent Defense Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

  • What: A special event to sustain PD’s work and celebrate its fifteenth anniversary
  • When: Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
    • Reception begins at 6:30 PM; short speaking program at 7:30 PM
  • Where: Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum: 5917 South 196th Street, Kent, WA 98032
  • Who: Join hydroplane legend Chip Hanauer and the Northwest Progressive Institute team + special guests to be announced
  • Why: Because our Constitution and common wealth can’t defend themselves

Refreshments will be served.

NPI would like to thank Chip Hanauer — one of the speakers at our inaugural Spring Fundraising Gala in 2008 — for his help and generosity in putting this event together.

Déjà vu: Tim Eyman announces initiative that would gut local public services funded by property taxes

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Donald Trump admirer Tim Eyman said today he intends to qualify an initiative to the 2017 Washington State ballot that would paralyze the many essential public services provided by Washington’s local governments by gutting their main source of funding.

Eyman’s Initiative 1550 (see text) would slash property tax levies, forcing any not approved by voters to be set at 25% below the amount otherwise allowed. Additionally, it would eliminate personal property taxes and restate the main provision of Eyman’s revenue-limiting I-747, which has been on the books since December of 2001 and is slowly choking the life out of local public services across the state.

NPI is still analyzing I-1550 to assess the breadth of damage it would cause, but it’s safe to say passage of I-1550 would be absolutely devastating to our communities and our economic security,” said NPI’s founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to destructive Tim Eyman initiatives for fifteen years.

“Property tax levies fund schools, police, firefighting, emergency medical response, parks, pools, libraries, roads, mass transit, and development and maintenance of critical infrastructure. I-1550 would raze the vital services we each rely on every day. This initiative is a dire threat to the safety, health, and well-being of all Washingtonians.”

“Making matters worse, I-1550 is being proposed at a time when our values are already under attack by Donald Trump. It’s only been a week since Trump assumed power, and already his unlawful and immoral executive orders are causing tremendous harm at home and around the world. Now Tim Eyman, who is being prosecuted by the State of Washington for serious public disclosure law violations, wants to add to the carnage by unleashing wrecking balls on our cities and counties. We’re ready to fight him — and win.”

Those with long memories may recall that Eyman proposed something like I-1550 back in 2004 — Initiative 864 — which failed to qualify for the ballot.

Midway through the I-864 signature drive thirteen years ago, Eyman realized I-864 wasn’t going to make it, so he diverted his energies to qualifying a different measure, I-892. I-892 would have allowed electronic slot machines in every neighborhood in the state, proposing to use the proceeds from that expansion of gambling to offset a property tax cut. It qualified for the ballot thanks to gambling industry money, but it was overwhelmingly rejected by voters, with the no vote statewide surpassing 60%.

“We have fifteen years of experience organizing opposition to Eyman’s destructive initiatives, and we will put all that experience to work to ensure that I-1550 gets the fierce, broad-based, unrelenting opposition it deserves in the event Eyman has managed to persuade his wealthy benefactors to finance this measure,” said Villeneuve. “Without their money, we believe I-1550 will suffer the same fate as I-864 and the last three initiatives Eyman said he was doing but couldn’t get on the ballot.”

Will you join us in opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1550?

If you would like to take a position opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1550, please fill out the form below so we can include you in our coalition organizing. Thank you for helping us defend Washington’s Constitution and common wealth!

Snake oil purveyor Tim Eyman says he’s going to announce new initiative next week — but are his wealthy benefactors on board?

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Scam artist and snake oil purveyor Tim Eyman — who remains under investigation by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office for serious violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws — said in an email today that he will be announcing a new initiative he intends to qualify to the 2017 ballot this coming Monday, January 30th, following his appearance at a weekend gathering of right wing political operatives in Ocean Shores.

Monday’s “announcement” will be Eyman’s fourth such initiative unveiling since the November 2015 general election fifteen months ago. The three previously-announced initiatives came to nothing after Eyman was unable to secure the funding to run a signature drive for any of them. Here’s a recap for those who enjoy keeping score, like we do:

  • November 17th, 2015: Tim Eyman announces he plans to file and qualify an initiative for 2016 that would force any increase in state revenue approved by the Legislature without a two-thirds vote to expire after one year. “We’ve going pedal to the metal on this new initiative,” Eyman vows in the hours preceding a mean-spirited, crudely-orchestrated media event on the Capitol Campus. “Yesterday, we formed and filed paperwork for a separate, stand-alone political action committee: Tougher To Raise Taxes. We’ve now begun raising money for a financial war-chest for this new initiative,” he adds. But due to a lack of commitments from wealthy benefactors, his planned initiative never reaches the signature gathering stage.
  • February 8th, 2016: Tim Eyman launches I-1421, a second initiative for 2016 intended to wipe out funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs — and brings pre-printed petitions and t-shirts to his press conference in an attempt to convince reporters and the public that this campaign is for real. “We have from now until July 8th to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures,” Eyman writes in an email sent out that same day. “The only way that’s gonna happen is with every single one of us putting forth a Herculean effort. We need a ton of volunteers to collect signatures. We need to distribute a ton of petitions. We need to raise a ton of money to hire paid petitioners. Voters are gonna be eager to sign our petitions — we need your help to give them every opportunity to sign.” But the funding never materializes, and within a few months, Eyman is forced to acknowledge he’s abandoned I-1421.
  • June 2nd, 2016: Tim Eyman announces he’s still trying to eviscerate funding for rail transit after admitting to The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield that I-1421 “never took off”. Due to having run out of time to qualify anything for the November 2016 ballot, Eyman files this third scheme, I-869, as an initiative to the Legislature for the following year, instead of as an initiative to the people. “Our newest initiative – ‘We Love Our Cars’ – is an initiative to the legislature,” Eyman writes in an email that day. “That means we have from now until the end of December – seven full months – to collect the 300,000 signatures needed.  So we have all summer and fall – June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec – to qualify this important initiative for the ballot.” Despite having all that time to put together a signature drive, Eyman again fails to secure the necessary funding and I-869 dies without acknowledgment from Eyman.

“Three times during the past fifteen months, Tim Eyman has made a big show of launching a new initiative that he didn’t actually have financing for,” noted Andrew Villeneuve, founder and Executive Director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, who has been building progressive infrastructure to defeat right wing initiatives and advance progressive causes since February of 2002, when NPI’s Permanent Defense was launched.

Whatever Eyman has planned for Monday is dead on arrival unless he’s convinced his wealthy benefactors to turn the cash spigot back on. But why should they do that when he has repeatedly demonstrated he cannot be trusted with their money — or anyone else’s money? Eyman is a serial public disclosure law violator and an admitted liar who has spent the past year sending incessant appeals for money to a shrinking base of followers while opening himself up to greater and greater liability by continuing to blatantly violate our state’s public disclosure laws.

“In the unfortunate event Eyman has secured financing for a 2017 initiative or does in time to buy his way onto the ballot, we are prepared to immediately begin pulling together a coalition to protect our Constitution and our common wealth,” said Villeneuve. “We must uphold Washington’s finest traditional values — empathy, mutual responsibility, fairness, and opportunity — especially with Donald Trump wreaking havoc at the federal level. In partnership with other caring Washingtonians, we will continue to ensure Eyman’s destructive initiatives get the vigorous opposition they deserve.”

Washington’s right wing renews attack on rights of transgender individuals with do-over discrimination initiative

Threat Analysis

As expected, the fundamentalists responsible for last year’s failed initiative to repeal protections for transgender individuals are making another attempt to get on the ballot.

This morning, Kristi Meritt and Cassandra Nelson filed an initiative to the people for 2017 that requires school districts across Washington State to discriminate against transgender individuals by adopting policies that force students use a bathroom/washroom on the basis of their anatomy as opposed to their gender. The measure does not yet have an official ballot title or a number.

“Sadly, Washington’s right wing is once again seeking to roll back our civil rights by filing another discriminatory initiative,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “We have a message for them: Washington won’t discriminate. We at NPI stand ready to work with fellow caring Washingtonians to defeat this do-over initiative and ensure that transgender individuals can continue to use facilities designated for the gender that they identify as.”

“Our opponents’ lack of tolerance, empathy, and understanding is truly shameful and embarrassing, and in conflict with the values that our state was founded on. The last decade of civil rights advances for LGBT individuals have expanded freedom for all in our great state, and shall be defended. We will not go backward; we must go forward.”

“Our movement has a strong track record of stopping past attempts to roll back protections for LGBT individuals. We successfully fought Referendum 65 in 2006, ensured that our civil union and marriage equality laws subjected to referenda in 2009 and 2012 were approved, and defeated I-1515 last year. We are confident that we can prevail again, uniting Washingtonians behind our finest traditional values as we educate and empower our fellow citizens about the need for protection of transgender rights.”

For 2017, initiatives to the people must contain the signatures of at least 259,622 registered voters and be submitted no later than 5:00 pm on July 7, 2017 — six months from now. The Secretary of State recommends that sponsors submit at least 325,000 signatures to allow for invalid signatures.

The signature requirement has gone up since last year due to an increase in the number of people who voted for governor in 2016. But any group with sufficient funds can buy their way onto the ballot, no matter the issue. Permanent Defense will be closely tracking and opposing this I-1515 do-over from now until the Fourth of July, when it will hopefully fail to qualify. If not, we will be prepared to fight it on the ballot.

WFEG, NPI thank Attorney General Ferguson for filing new charges against Tim Eyman

Statements & Advisories

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman is facing new charges that he failed to follow Washington’s public disclosure laws when he set up his latest ballot measure committee (“We Love Our Cars”) after attorneys for the State of Washington filed an amended campaign finance complaint against him and his co-defendants in Thurston County Superior Court.

The amended complaint was prompted by a citizen’s action notice filed on September 16th by Washingtonians For Ethical Government (WFEG), a nonprofit founded to serve as a people’s campaign finance watchdog for the Evergreen State.

WFEG previously sent a citizen’s action notice in the spring that alleged another one of Eyman’s committees had failed to properly report an independent expenditure. PDC staff found merit to the allegations and they were incorporated into one of three complaints filed by Ferguson’s office in Thurston County Superior Court back in September.

WFEG boardmember and Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI) Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve thanked Attorney General Ferguson’s office for reviewing the allegations and determining there was sufficient evidence to file new charges.

“Tim Eyman is a serial violator of our state’s public disclosure laws,” said Villeneuve. “Even while under investigation for concealment by Attorney General Ferguson’s office, Eyman and his associates have continued to brazenly flout RCW Chapter 42.17A. When they set up their newest committee, ‘We Love Our Cars’, they failed to account for where the committee’s startup money, totaling $143,947.61, came from. The law explicitly requires that they report the source of their contributions. They didn’t do that when they set up this committee, and incredibly, they still haven’t.”

“We Love Our Cars” was formed to promote I-869, an initiative to the Legislature intended to wipe out funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs. In emails to his followers, Eyman is still regularly pitching the initiative and asking for money to qualify it, but NPI has found no evidence of a signature drive and the committee’s only reported expenditures in months have been to reimburse Eyman for travel expenses and computer and telephone expenses.

The deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the 2017 Legislature is at the end of this month, so Eyman only has a few more weeks to pretend that I-869 is an active effort.

Eyman and his associates are already in trouble for a number of previous violations of RCW Chapter 42.17A, including violations uncovered by the Northwest Progressive Institute and Washingtonians For Ethical Government earlier this year.

As mentioned, the discovery of these violations led to the filing of three lawsuits in September by Ferguson’s office, one of which has now been amended to incorporate the new charges.

“Tim Eyman and his associates have been in politics for a long time and must be held accountable for their continued lawbreaking,” said Villeneuve. “They have been given many, many chances to voluntarily comply with the reporting requirements of RCW Chapter 42.17A and clean up their act. They have neglected to do so. Significant penalties should be imposed by the courts against them as a consequence.”

Washingtonians For Ethical Government is represented by Knoll Lowney of Smith & Lowney, PLLC. Knoll Lowney’s past 45-day notice letters have resulted in significant penalties and litigation. His 45-day notice letter against the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) resulted in the imposition of a $584,000 penalty against the BIAW’s for-profit affiliate. More recently, his 45-day notice letter against the Grocery Manufacturers Association led to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office litigating what it calls “the largest political funding concealment case in state history.”

Tim Eyman’s latest scam: Fundraising for an anti-transit initiative he knows is dead

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Donald Trump admirer and Mukilteo-based initiative profiteer Tim Eyman certainly has been busy the last few weeks — cheering on his pal Ram Roach in her county council race, showing up at the King County Courthouse to attack Dow Constantine, and singing the praises of Doug Ericksen and Michael Baumgartner, who promised this week they’ll make another attempt to subvert majority rule in the Washington State Senate in 2017.

But one thing we know Eyman hasn’t been doing is making a serious attempt to qualify Initiative 869 to the Legislature.

Remember I-869? It’s the initiative Eyman said he was running to sabotage funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs back in June.

Eyman announced I-869 on June 2nd, 2016, writing, “Our newest initiative – ‘We Love Our Cars’ – is an initiative to the legislature. That means we have from now until the end of December – 7 full months – to collect the 300,000 signatures needed. So we have all summer and fall – June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec – to qualify this important initiative for the ballot.  There’s no doubt it’s desperately needed.”

Eyman set up a committee named “We Love Our Cars” (identical to the initiative’s aforementioned slogan) to raise money for I-869. At the end of practically every email he’s sent out to his followers since then, he’s included this pitch:

Petitions for “We Love Our Cars” I-869 have been sent out (if you need more, just email or call). Our polling shows it’s another big winner.  Please help us make it a reality.

Look at PDC reports filed for “We Love Our Cars”, though, and you’ll see the committee has raised only $159,961.01 . It was seeded with $143,947.61 in unreported mystery money in July (which in September became the subject of a citizen’s action notice sent by Washingtonians For Ethical Government) and has raised only $16,013.40 in cash.

The expense reports don’t show a single expenditure of funds for paid signature gathering. But they do show that last month, Eyman personally reimbursed himself $2,994.01 for “fundraising and travel” and another $1,569.81 for “computer and telephone”.  No other expenses — not even one — have been reported for this committee since July.

“Tim Eyman knows that I-869 will soon become his latest failed initiative. We are nearly a month away from the deadline to submit signatures to the 2017 Legislature, and we cannot find any evidence of a signature drive for I-869,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been watchdogging Eyman and his initiative factory for nearly fifteen years.

“Eyman has been unable to secure the megabucks he would have needed to buy I-869 a place on the ballot, and he’s run out of time to launch a signature drive. But it appears he’s intentionally neglected to tell his followers what’s really going on because he feels he must always have something to sell. He only admitted I-1421 was doomed last spring when he was ready to unveil I-869, which took its place.”

“If this pattern holds, Eyman will go on pretending I-869 is still a thing right up until he suddenly swaps it out one day for a new scheme.”

“Tim should level with the people on his email list he’s been asking to give to I-869 and tell them what’s really going on. And he should get expert help to clean up his books so that he can properly comply with our public disclosure laws. The question is, will he? If history is any indication, he won’t. That’s why it is so important he be held accountable. We will continue to do our part, and we hope Attorney General Bob Ferguson will do his.”

NPI to Governor Inslee: Congratulations on your reelection; let’s get to work on progressive revenue reform

Election Postmortem

Though many ballots remain to be counted, it’s apparent that Washington Governor Jay Inslee has easily earned a second term this year, having convincingly defeated Republican challenger Bill Bryant. Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve released the following statement on the results of the November 2016 gubernatorial election in Washington.

“Congratulations to Governor Jay Inslee on resoundingly winning a second term as our state’s chief executive,” said Villeneuve. “We are honored to have the opportunity to work with Governor Inslee to raise our state and region’s quality of life for another four years. Nationally, the election was a catastrophe in many respects, but not here in Washington, where progressives causes and candidates did very well.”

Villeneuve urged Inslee to make progressive revenue reform an immediate and urgent priority, noting the Governor unveiled a number of compelling ideas two years ago in advance of the 2015 legislative session, including a capital gains tax.

“The people of Washington want our public schools fully funded, and they want the Legislature to raise revenue to ensure that happens,” Villeneuve said.

“We also badly need to invest in our mental health system, to ensure that people are getting the care they need. Poaching money from other essential public services for schools and mental health is not an option. Our research shows the people of our state understand the need for progressive revenue reform and want their elected representatives to act without further delay.”

Last June, a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressive Institute found that 63% of likely voters agree that public schools are underfunded and that new state revenue is needed for public schools, while 65% support a capital gains tax on the wealthy to fund public schools and make Washington’s regressive, upside-down tax code fairer. (View the questions, the responses, and the methodology on NPI’s Cascadia Advocate).

More recently, the KCTS9/Crosscut Washington Poll asked a school funding question of its own, which mentioned the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, unlike our question, which deliberately left out any mention of the court’s ruling.

The Washington Poll asked: “In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to fully fund K-12 public education by 2018 by providing a total of $4 billion dollars in funding. Do you agree or disagree that the state Legislature should provide more funding to education?”49.1% of respondents said they strongly agreed, while 28.2% said they somewhat agreed.

In an email this morning, Donald Trump admirer Tim Eyman — who campaigned against Inslee’s reelection — sent out an email falsely claiming the election results show “there’s no public support — none whatsoever — for any tax increase, large or small.”

Eyman’s email today conveniently omitted any mention of any result that would contradict his narrative — such as the success of Sound Transit 3 or Spokane’s Public Transportation Benefit Area’s ten year plan. Both are passing, and both authorize increases in revenue to fund a useful and valuable public service — transit for all.

“Reporters who have been covering state politics for any length of time know that Tim Eyman can be counted on — in the wake of each and every election — to say ‘voters don’t want their taxes raised’, even while voters are doing precisely that,” said Villeneuve. “We have seen that voters in communities across our state will enthusiastically vote to sustain or raise state and local revenue when they can see where it is going and how it would be put to work to improve their lives.”

“Sound Transit 3’s approval nicely complements the passage of Connecting Washington last year. Governor Inslee and legislative leaders have acted on transportation and the voters have just given their work in that area a big thumbs up. Now we need to make raising revenue for our public schools our top priority. It’s our paramount duty and our kids have been waiting far too long for the Legislature to get its act together. No more excuses. We need progressive revenue reform now.”

“Eyman claims I-1464 and I-732 went down because one would have repealed a tax exemption and the other would have levied a carbon tax while reducing sales and B&O taxes, but what he’s not telling you is that a lot of people and organizations voted against those initiatives for completely different reasons.”

“At NPI, we urged a NO vote on both, having concluded that each had too many flaws to merit our support. I-1464 and I-732 were well intentioned, but didn’t meet our high standards, so we campaigned for their defeat. We still need to put a price on pollution and strengthen our campaign finance laws in addition to investing in our schools.”

“We look forward to seeing Governor Inslee’s proposed 2017-2018 budget and ask the Governor to once again call on the Legislature to levy a capital gains tax on the rich to fund our schools. The Legislature should also explore enacting a homestead exemption to reduce property taxes on low and middle income families while raising them slightly on wealthy households, to correct some of the imbalance in our tax code. And tax breaks that cannot be justified should be repealed to recover revenue for our state treasury.”

NPI thanks Attorney General Bob Ferguson for filing three new campaign finance complaints against Tim Eyman

Statements & Advisories

Today, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office announced that the State of Washington has filed three new campaign finance complaints against initiative promoter Tim Eyman and his associates in Thurston County Superior Court. The complaints concern violations of RCW Chapter 42.17A uncovered by NPI’s Permanent Defense, Washingtonians For Ethical Government (WFEG), and Keep Washington Rolling (KWR), which were the subject of a set of citizen action notices sent by WFEG and KWR in May and June.

RCW 42.17A.765 (4) allows a person or organization who believes Washington’s public disclosure laws to have been violated to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the state to enforce the law, but only if the Attorney General and the Prosecuting Attorney of the county in which the violation occurred are given an opportunity to sue first and choose not to do so.

The citizen’s action is a crucially important enforcement tool, because the Public Disclosure Commission can take a long time to process traditional complaints due to being underfunded and understaffed. For example, more than three years transpired before Sherry Bockwinkel’s 2012 complaint against Tim Eyman and his campaign committees was fully investigated by PDC staff and acted on by the Commission.

One year ago, in September of 2015, the PDC unanimously voted to refer that case to Ferguson’s office for further action. Ferguon’s investigators have spent months trying to acquire the evidence they need to complete their investigation, but they’ve been hindered by Eyman and his associates’ repeated refusal to cooperate. Over the summer, attorneys representing the people of Washington went to court to compel Eyman’s cooperation.

In the meantime, Eyman has continued to brazenly flout RCW Chapter 42.17A. NPI believes aggressive and timely enforcement is needed to prevent Eyman from making a mockery of Washington’s public disclosure laws, and is committed to doing its part to uncover future potential violations and laying the groundwork for speedy prosecution of those violations.

Working with Washingtonians For Ethical Government, NPI recently discovered that Eyman had once again broken the law by concealing the source of most of the funds raised by his newest political committee, We Love Our Cars, which was formed in June. This month, WFEG notified Attorney General Ferguson and King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg it plans to file suit against Eyman over this concealment through another citizen’s action.

“Tim Eyman is a serial offender who continues to violate our public disclosure laws with impunity,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who also serves as a boardmember of Washingtonians For Ethical Government. “Justice is not served when it takes years for prolific violators like Eyman to be held accountable for flouting the basic reporting rules established by the people and the people’s legislators to shine a light on money in politics in Washington.”

“Fortunately, the law provides a useful tool for expediting enforcement: the citizen’s action. These complaints all appropriately began with the sending of citizen’s action notices. We thank Attorney General Ferguson for stepping up to take on these cases. We will be following future developments with great interest.”

Tim Eyman’s associates ordered to pay $10,000+ in court costs and attorneys fees

In the Courts

Tim Eyman’s associates Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agazarm, who Eyman depends on to run his signature drives, have been ordered to pay over $10,000 in court costs and attorneys’ fees to the State of Washington by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson for failing to cooperate with Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation into Eyman’s serious violations of Washington’s public disclosure law.

The order reads:

THIS MATTER came before the Court on the State’s Motion to Set Attorneys’ Fees and Costs; the parties appeared through counsel. The Court considered the records and files in this matter as well as the arguments of the parties. Respondents failed to file a response.

Having previously ordered that the State was entitled to payment of attorneys’ fees and costs associated with initiating this case, and having determined that the State’s request for fees and costs through the time of filing of this motion is reasonable, the Court hereby ORDERS as follows:

  1. The State’s Motion to Set Attorneys’ Fees and Costs is granted.
  2. For work completed through the date of the filing of this motion, Respondents shall pay Petitioner, State of Washington, the amount of $9,975.00 as reasonable attorneys fees and the amount of $494.50 as costs pursuant to RCW 42.17A.765(5).
  3. The Court reserves the right to order payment of additional attorneys’ fees and costs for any further proceedings brought by the State for Respondents’ failure to comply with the Court’s Order dated July 1, 2016, including but not limited to attorneys’ fees and costs related to the State’s pending Motion for Contempt of Court.

DONE IN OPEN COURT this 5th day of August, 2016.

While Wilson granted the state’s motion to set attorneys fees, she decided not to consider a motion to hold Ruffno and Agazarm in contempt of court for the time being, instead directing the parties to work together to reschedule a hearing on that motion for later this month. A Snohomish County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments concerning a related motion to hold Eyman himself in contempt of court next Friday.

The team at NPI is pleased that Eyman and his associates are finally paying a price for their stonewalling, which has prevented the people of Washington from knowing what really happened. We agree with the Attorney General’s office that it is evident Eyman has no desire to cooperate with this investigation. To the extent he has turned over records sought, it is merely so he can feign compliance with lawfully-issued civil orders seeking documents that would bring the truth to light. And that’s not good enough. We support the state’s motions asking that Eyman and company be held in contempt of court.

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