Costly oversight could lead to rejection of I-917 petitions

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Once again, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman has made a costly mistake, printing up thousands of petitions for Initiative 917 that are invalid under state law, Permanent Defense has learned.

The news was first reported by MajorityRules.org, a citizen action organization which shares Permanent Defense’s mission of fighting Tim Eyman and his anti-tax initiatives, working for real tax reform in Washington State, and promoting the value of public services.

Eyman carelessly forgot about (or ignored) a new state law that requires initiative petitions to include an oath that must be signed by the signature gatherer who circulated the petitions.

The oath affirms that the person who circulated the petition followed state law and did not bribe voters or forge their signatures.

The Secretary of State has announced that petitions that are out of compliance with the law will be rejected – which apparently means all of the original petitions Eyman printed up for Initiative 917 are worthless and won’t count.

But that’s not what Eyman told his supporters. In a letter this month, Eyman blatantly lied, assuring his supporters that the old petitions are “still good and acceptable” when in fact they’re not.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this is not the first time Eyman has made such a costly mistake printing up petitions for an initiative. In 2003, MajorityRules reported that Eyman had failed to correctly print the initiative text on the reverse side of the petition as required by law.

Eyman sent out new petitions late in the signature drive, but never got enough new signatures on the valid petitions. Eyman lied to his supporters then as well, telling them it was OK to send in their petitions and failing to admit his error.

“You can’t trust anything Eyman says,” said Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve. “He lies to the voters, he lies to the press, and he lies to his own supporters. He should not be taken seriously by anyone.”

“When Eyman fails or makes a significant mistake like this, he never admits it,” Villeneuve added. “Eyman refuses to talk about his failures. He doesn’t even acknowledge them. He seems to live in his own fantasy world.”

It will be interesting to see how Eyman will attempt to spin himself out of this one. He’s been caught explicitly lying to his supporters. Since the original petitions for Initiative 917 do not include the required declaration and the petitioner’s signed oath, they will be rejected by the Secretary of State. The original petitions are clearly not “still good and acceptable.”

“Eyman, just like his initiatives, is careless and reckless,” Villeneuve said. “He has taken money from his own supporters for personal profit and lied about it. He has routinely run afoul of the public disclosure laws. He continually distorts the facts and gives the public false information.”

“This guy would be out of business right now if it wasn’t for special interest money,” Villeneuve noted. “His last two initiatives were financed by a multimillionaire and the gambling industry.”

We wonder if Tim Eyman has told his wealthy backer, Michael Dunmire, about his costly mistake.

“Did Eyman go to Dunmire and admit that he made this mistake – or is Eyman lying to Dunmire too?” asked Villeneuve. “Either way, he has wasted a large amount of money on a serious oversight.”

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