I-1033’s placement on ballot bought and paid for by Michael Dunmire

Eye on Money: Developments

In an email sent out today to supporters and copied to the media, Tim Eyman is once again hypocritically criticizing opponents of his latest destructive initiative for contributing large amounts of money to stop it from passing. Eyman singled out several unions and their international affiliates, sneering, “Washington DC’s most powerful government unions are seeking to buy this year’s election on I-1033 — $2.6 million+ reported so far and much more expected.”

Eyman may enjoy pretending to be a populist, but he knows perfectly well we are only voting on Initiative 1033 because its placement on the ballot was bought and paid for by an angry investment banker who despises government.

Eyman acknowledges in his email that his initiative factory received a $300,000 donation from “super supporter” Michael Dunmire back in the spring. What he doesn’t admit was that Initiative 1033 could not have qualified for the ballot without Dunmire.

For the last four years, Dunmire has kept Eyman’s operation going by repeatedly dumping enormous sums of money into Eyman’s bank account, allowing Eyman to continually buy his way onto the ballot: in 2005 with Initiative 900, in 2007 with Initiative 960, in 2008 with Initiative 985, and almost in 2006 with Initiative 917, which looked like it would initially be on the ballot but ultimately self-imploded because it lacked enough valid signatures.

In 2008, Eyman used a combination of Dunmire’s money and a loan taken out against his home to come up with enough cash to buy I-985 onto the ballot, a formula he relied upon again this year. Last year’s loans, however, were fully covered by Dunmire, who wrote two checks on February 6th, 2009, for a total of $280,000. Eyman used this money to repay the $175,000 loan he had taken out for I-985, and three days later, he and the Fagans used the rest to compensate themselves. (See the C4 report and Amended Schedules A and L for ReduceCongestion.org, 3/10/2009 reporting date.)

If history is any indication, Dunmire will be paying off Eyman’s $250,000 loan for Initiative 1033 this winter, which woud then put his financial backing of I-1033 at a total of at least $550,000. Out of a total of $670,169 raised by Eyman this year for I-1033, that would be about 82%. Eighty two percent.

Without Dunmire, Eyman simply could not afford to hire signature gatherers to set up shop outside of stores and at events to pester citizens to autograph his initiative petitions. And without the signatures he purchases, Eyman couldn’t qualify for the ballot.

Dunmire’s cash makes it possible. That’s all it takes. But that’s not grassroots.

Eyman’s small dollar donations and the number of signatures collected by volunteers are insignificant compared to Dunmire’s checks and the number of signatures collected by mercenary petitioners.

Unlike SEIU, NEA, AFSCME, or any of the unions Eyman is condemning, his backer represents only one person: Michael Dunmire. Unions opposed to Initiative 1033, in contrast, represent thousands or tens of thousands of working families whose livelihood is directly threatened by Eyman’s jobs-killing wealth transfer scheme.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows politics that organized labor would donate heavily to defeat a ballot measure which not only puts its own members’ jobs in jeopardy, but punishes small businesses and destroys any hope of economic recovery for our state. This battle will decide Washington’s future. Unions are doing their part to ensure the opposition campaign has ample resources to explain to voters the devastating consequences I-1033 would have on our quality of life.

Eyman has no ground to stand upon when he criticizes opponents for relying on big bucks to build a war chest to educate voters. He qualifies initiatives by getting one rich guy to write him a couple checks.

If Tim Eyman doesn’t like big money in politics, he should stop relying on big money – one man’s money – to bankroll his initiatives and his “compensation fund”. Otherwise, he has no right to complain.

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