Eyman uses sunshine laws to invade privacy of NEA’s Charles Hasse

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

In response to Tim Eyman’s continued attacks on the National Education Association’s Charles Hasse, we’d like to point out that there is nothing “despicable” about making a public records request, as Tim Eyman claims… and he should know better, for he does it all the time. Transparency and openness in government, and in the political process, are critical to the well-being of a democracy. That’s why we have sunshine laws and a Freedom of Information Act.

Tim Eyman claims to be all for openness and transparency in the political process, but as far as his own campaigns are concerned, secrecy is the name of the game.

He wants to have it both ways.

Eyman is against any reforms that would strengthen the spirit and integrity of the initiative process. He has a history of routinely failing to file reports on time with the Public Disclosure Commission.

He concealed, for months, the fact that he was pocketing hundreds of thousands of contributions from his supporters for his own use. He explicitly lied about it.

And remember that Referendum 65, er, Initiative 917 press conference on June 5th, 2006, where his buddy Mike Fagan gleefully declared to the media, “Feel like you’ve been duped this morning? Well you have.”

Now Eyman & Co. are outraged that somebody who works for the National Education Association would ask for the names and addresses of people who signed petitions for one of his initiatives.

That information, like our voter rolls, is not and should not be a secret.

Eyman’s response to this legitimate public records request is to publish the requestor’s personal contact information (including his cell phone number) to his e-mail list. Eyman is openly inviting his supporters to harass the NEA’s Charles Hasse. It’s not the first time, either. Eyman has purposely published opponents’ cell phone numbers in comment threads on the conservative blog Sound Politics.

He has also leveled personal attacks against many of his opponents in e-mail screeds to his supporters or to reporters.

Eyman actually took advantage of our state’s sunshine laws to obtain Charles Hasse’s personal contact information so he could distribute it to his supporters… while calling Hasse’s records request “despicable”.

What should Eyman call his own behavior? Ugly? Stinky? How about just plain disgusting? The hypocrisy is incredible… breathtaking.

At the very least, Eyman’s actions can provide some helpful guidance to reporters: Do not communicate with Eyman using non-work related means of communication (for example, personal cell phone number). There’s no telling what he might do with the information… he certainly doesn’t have any qualms about giving it out.

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