Kelly Herron demands that right wing group behind anti-trans initiative stop using her story in fundraising pitches

Rethinking and Reframing

Last week, marathoner Kelly Herron’s morning run turned into a nightmare when she was assaulted in Golden Gardens Park. As she recounted on Instagram:

Four miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall. I fought for my life […] clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.

After local media outlets picked up Kelly’s story, the fanatics trying to qualify Initiative 1552 to the ballot took notice and figured they could exploit what happened to Kelly to prey on the fears of gullible Washingtonians.

They sent out an email titled “Bathroom attack in Seattle” exhorting people to donate money and collect signatures to qualify I-1552 to the ballot. I-1552, a do-over of last year’s failed I-1515, would repeal rules passed by the Human Rights Commission that empower transgender individuals to use public washrooms and toilets consistent with their gender identity. It’s an awful, discriminatory measure that is opposed by a broad and diverse coalition of businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, and individuals.

When Kelly found out that I-1552 communications director Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates were using her story in an attempt to bolster their campaign, she was incensed, and is now demanding that they cease doing so and refund any contributions they received from their “Bathroom attack in Seattle” appeal. Kelly writes:

Last week I successfully defended myself against a violent sexual assault in a public restroom at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle […] But I’m more upset now than I have been all week after seeing that a political group is using my face, my name and my story to fundraise for I-1552, a ballot initiative that deliberately targets and harms transgender people – including friends whom I respect.

To the people behind I-1552, I say “not today, [expletive].” I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others.

All of us, including transgender people, are concerned about safety in restrooms or any place where we’re isolated and alone. But the fact is I-1552 would not have done one thing to prevent the attack on me. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom or locker room to harm someone, period.

I-1552’s backers say it is supposed to protect women and children from attack, but this initiative is an invitation for abuse and harassment because under this law men could demand to see a woman’s ID with her name and home address, or otherwise force her to prove her gender before allowing her to enter a public restroom.

I-1552’s backers use fear mongering to justify singling out one group, transgender people, for discrimination. I strongly oppose their efforts to repeal Washington State’s decade-old protections against discrimination for our transgender friends, family and co-workers. I demand they immediately refund any money raised using my image, my name, and my story, and I demand Just Want Privacy immediately issue a public retraction.

We salute Kelly for her tremendous courage — both in telling her story after being attacked and for publicly repudiating the I-1552 campaign after they used her story as the basis for fundraising pitches for their discriminatory initiative. If Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates have any respect for Kelly, they’ll accede to her demands — promptly.

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

A post shared by NPI (@nwprogressive) on

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.

Fifteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & Advisories

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its fifteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and eighty months of continuous operation.

And what an occasion this is! Fifteen years is unquestionably a big milestone, but what makes this anniversary all the more special is that it caps the most successful and extraordinary year in Permanent Defense’s history. We celebrated a lot of victories these past twelve months… from the opening of three new Link light rail stations to the passage of Sound Transit 3 to the Supreme Court’s verdict striking down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 to the right wing’s failure to qualify anything to the November 2016 ballot.

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

The theme of our work this past year was prevention, as in an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To that end, we worked tirelessly to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his continued flouting of our public disclosure laws.

Our efforts met with great success.

Acting on our research, our partner Washingtonians For Ethical Government filed two citizen’s action notices against Eyman and his operation, both of which resulted in charges being filed against Eyman by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Our friends at Keep Washington Rolling, meanwhile, piled on with their own citizen’s action notices. As a consequence, there are now three pending lawsuits against Tim Eyman and his committees, in addition to Ferguson’s investigation into Eyman’s grand scheme to conceal the kickbacks he was getting from his buddies Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agazarm.

I could not be prouder of what Permanent Defense has accomplished during its fifteenth year. When we successfully neutralize threats to our Constitution and commonwealth, it makes it easier for our movement to go on offense and pursue the implementation of policy directions that improve people’s lives.

That’s exactly what happened this past year. For example, instead of having to fight a draconian Tim Eyman initiative that would have slashed funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs, we were able to concentrate on building public support for transit expansion. And we won!

Over the next few decades, we’ll be investing billions of dollars to build out a regional light rail spine and expand bus and commuter rail service.

Fifteen years ago, when Permanent Defense was founded, Tim Eyman was trying to destroy Sound Transit’s Link light rail spine (then unbuilt) by ripping away its funding with a statewide initiative. Permanent Defense’s very first mission was to vigorously oppose that initiative, I-776, and support Sound Transit at a time when Sound Transit had few friends and a great many enemies.

Although I-776 narrowly passed, the funding for Link light rail was saved, and construction began the following year, with service beginning in 2009.

It feels as though we’ve now come full circle.

In 2002, despite having been caught pocketing his own supporters’ money and lying about it, Eyman was still able to qualify I-776 to the ballot. He was down, but not out.

But in 2016, Eyman was both down and out. He tried twice to qualify schemes to defund Sound Transit and couldn’t convince his wealthy benefactors to buy in.

Perhaps Eyman’s benefactors stood him up because he betrayed their trust. He lies to everyone else — the press, the public, the shrinking band of followers who are still subscribed to his emails — it stands to reason he lies to his big funders, too.

Eyman’s credibility ought to have disappeared the moment he confessed to having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to pay himself. When I saw that wasn’t going to happen, I founded Permanent Defense to make it happen.

For fifteen years now, we have fought back against Eyman’s initiative factory, debunking lie after lie and exposing deception after deception. And we are winning. Washington is a stronger, safer, freer state because of NPI’s Permanent Defense.

Before PD’s founding, Eyman was winning at the ballot every year. Since PD’s founding, Eyman has no consecutive victories — and many consecutive failures.

But we cannot rest on our laurels. It is a dark time for our country. We need Washington State to be a beacon of light in this darkness. Permanent Defense’s work has never been more important. And with your support, it will continue.

If you’re inspired by what PD has accomplished during its fifteen year history, consider making a donation to Permanent Defense PAC now.

PD now maintains an emergency response fund so that we can spring into action and accelerate coalition building efforts in the event that we assess that a future right wing initiative is likely to make the statewide ballot. Eyman and the mean-spirited campaign behind last year’s failed assault on transgender rights are both seeking to qualify schemes to the 2017 ballot. They can and must be stopped.

Together, we have helped protect Washington against a slew of toxic threats to its future. Here’s to another year of victories. Thanks to everyone who has ever made a donation, volunteered, or offered a kind word of encouragement to keep Permanent Defense going.

I hope you enjoy the following chronology of great moments from our fifteenth year.

University Link opens six months ahead of schedule

On March 18th, 2016, Sound Transit inaugurated service on the much anticipated University Link light rail extension, adding two new stations to the region’s growing rail spine (Capitol Hill and University of Washington). NPI covered both days of opening celebrations live through Permanent Defense’s sister projects. The launch of University Link led to an almost immediate light rail ridership boom, with commuters and tourists alike voting with their feet and ORCA cards to take Link.

Permanent Defense, Washingtonians For Ethical Government thwart Tim Eyman’s illegal ad campaign

On May 24th, armed with NPI/Permanent Defense’s research, Washingtonians For Ethical Government filed a citizen’s action notice against Tim Eyman, alleging that Eyman violated public disclosure laws by running online ads against Democratic lawmakers without properly disclosing them as independent expenditures.

After receiving WFEG’s notice of intent to sue, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office asked the Public Disclosure Commission to investigate.

The PDC looked into our allegations, and found “multiple apparent violations” of Chapter 42.17A, Washington’s public disclosure law. As the PDC was investigating, Eyman took down all of the ads and nixed the website created to promote them.

The PDC unanimously recommended that Ferguson prosecute the violations several weeks later. In September, Ferguson did just that, filing three lawsuits against Eyman and his committees which included charges stemming from WFEG’s citizen action notice.

Supreme Court gives Tim Eyman’s I-1366 a final burial

On May 26th, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously upheld Judge William Downing’s ruling in Lee v. State, holding that Tim Eyman’s hostage-taking I-1366 is unconstitutional in its entirety. The verdict set an important precedent against future attempts to blackmail the Legislature through the initiative process, and sent I-1366 to the political graveyard it belongs in.

Tim Eyman fails to make the November 2016 ballot

On June 2nd, Tim Eyman conceded that he would not make the November 2016 ballot with either of the schemes he had planned to qualify, admitting to The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield that I-1421, announced just a week prior to Permanent Defense’s fourteenth anniversary, “didn’t take off“. What Eyman meant by that was that he was unable to persuade any his wealthy benefactors to give him megabucks to bring in out of state petitioners to collect the necessary signatures. We had been unable to find any evidence of an active signature drive in the weeks leading up to this admission. It was a joyous day when our assessment that Eyman would likely fail to qualify anything was proved correct.

Permanent Defense gets sleek new website

Permanent Defense Version 9.0 (Fidalgo)
Permanent Defense Version 9.0 (Fidalgo)

A few days later, on June 6th, Permanent Defense received its first major digital makeover in six years with the launch of Version 9.0, codenamed “Fidalgo”, featuring a brand new responsive design, breadcrumb navigation, and updated graphics. (Keeping with tradition, new iterations of the Permanent Defense website are named after islands in Washington State).

Sound Transit Board votes unanimously to send ambitious transit expansion package (ST3) to the ballot

On June 23rd, Sound Transit’s eighteen member Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a revised Phase III plan for system expansion and refer it to the voters of urban King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties for their consideration, successfully concluding several years of extensive planning and public outreach. I testified in support of the motion on behalf of NPI and Permanent Defense. Immediately following the board meeting, the Mass Transit Now coalition announced the launch of the campaign to pass Regional Proposition 1 on the November 2016 ballot.

I-1515 fails to qualify for the ballot

Victory: 1515 Fails!
Victory: 1515 Fails!

On July 7th, proponents of a mean-spirited initiative to repeal protections for transgender individuals conceded defeat, throwing in the towel after failing to complete a successful signature drive. I-1515’s demise resulted in a November ballot free of right wing initiatives for the first time in Permanent Defense’s history.

Permanent Defense, Washingtonians For Ethical Government catch Eyman red-handed — again

On September 16th, NPI’s Permanent Defense and Washingtonians For Ethical Government teamed up again to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his continued blatant disregard of Washington’s public disclosure laws. WFEG notified Attorney General Bob Ferguson of its intent to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the State of Washington over Eyman’s failure to report a six figure transfer of cash between two of his committees. Two months later, on November 30th, Ferguson’s office notified WFEG that it had amended one of the lawsuits filed against Eyman in September to incorporate the charges.

Angle Lake Link opens four years ahead of schedule

Angle Lake Link debuts
The first train to officially carry riders arrives at Angle Lake Station

On September 24th, on a sunny day in SeaTac, Sound Transit opened a sixteenth light rail station to the public, inaugurating service on Angle Lake Link four years early and once again demonstrating to voters its ability to deliver projects ahead of schedule and under budget. Angle Lake is the first station to open south of SeaTac/Airport, and has a large parking garage to enable commuters to park and take Link to points north. NPI livegrammed the event and offered additional special coverage on the Cascadia Advocate.

Voters pass Sound Transit 3 and four progressive statewide initiatives

Vote APPROVED on Sound Transit 3
NPI campaign infographic urging an APPROVED vote on Regional Proposition 1 (Sound Transit 3)

While the presidential election ended in catastrophe, voters in Washington State charted a course for progressive change on November 8th by passing Sound Transit 3 (Regional Proposition 1) and statewide initiatives to raise the minimum wage (I-1433), allow families to seek extreme risk protection orders to protect loved ones from gun violence (I-1491), put the state on record in support of federal constitutional amendment to get big money out of elections (I-735), and protect the information of in-home caregivers from being harvested by right wing stink tanks for malicious purposes (I-1501).

Within days of the election results having been certified, Sound Transit’s staff and board of directors got to work on project implementation, securing favorable financing and moving forward with contract awards.

ST3 victory press conference
King County Executive Dow Constantine celebrates the passage of ST3 with the Sound Transit Board

Tim Eyman’s I-869 fails to qualify for the ballot

December 30th marked the deadline for submitting signatures for initiatives to the 2017 Legislature. Although Tim Eyman had tried to restart I-1421 by converting it into I-869, his attempts to interest his wealthy benefactors in underwriting the measure failed, and it died without any comment whatsoever from Eyman, who spent six months asking for donations to an initiative he knew wasn’t going anywhere.

Inspired by Permanent Defense’s fifteen year track record of taking on right wing initiatives and winning? Donate to Permanent Defense PAC now to keep Washington safe from threats to its Constitution and common wealth

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.”

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