Eyman asks followers to help him retire his debt; fails to acknowledge or thank his corporate backers

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsRethinking and Reframing

Admitting that “times are tough for everyone”, Mukilteo initiative profiteer Tim Eyman shook his electronic tin cup again today, asking his followers to help retire $250,000 in debt he incurred while trying to come up with funds for I-1053’s signature drive.

“After paying for mortgage/rent, vehicle costs, food, and other family expenses, it’s difficult to find ‘extra money’ to support political efforts, like our initiatives, that move our state in a more pro-freedom, pro-reform, pro-taxpayer direction,” Eyman wrote.  “We understand that. So as donations were coming in for I-1053’s signature drive, it became increasingly apparent that they weren’t coming in at a pace that would have allowed the signature drive to be successful.”

Translation: Eyman couldn’t get seed money from his sugar daddy Michael Dunmire for I-1053 early this year, which meant the measure’s signature drive was in jeopardy. Eyman was thus compelled to take matters into his own hands.

Eyman’s base of grassroots right-wing donors shriveled up long ago; Dunmire has been underwriting Eyman’s campaigns with six figure checks since his failed partnership with the gambling industry in 2004.

This year, however, Dunmire was apparently unwilling to refill Eyman’s coffers as he has for the past half-decade. Eyman started borrowing against his house – again – but this time, with the knowledge that it wouldn’t be enough. So while he looked for a new patron (or patrons), he went into debt.

As Eyman related in his email (referring to himself in the third person):

[F]rom May through June, Tim accessed his bank’s line of credit, secured by a 2nd mortgage on his home, and loaned the signature drive for I-1053 a total of $250,000 ($50,000 in April, $40,000 in May, $70,000 in early June and $90,000 in late June). This was, by no means, our first choice. But given the difficulty of our supporters to donate to our initiative during these tough economic times, it was the only way we could ensure the success of I-1053.

When Eyman says “our supporters”, he’s obviously referring to the dwindling number of loyal donors who have stuck with him year after year, contributing to each new initiative effort.

But what about his new patrons… the corporations and trade groups that put up most of the money for Initiative 1053? Don’t they get any acknowledgment or thanks?

The only reason I-1053 “made it” is because several dozen corporations collectively put up close to $600,000 to help Eyman. Not counting Eyman’s loan, their contributions constitute about 76% of the funding for I-1053. That’s more than three fourths!

The top corporate and trade group contributors to I-1053 are:

  • BP (yes, that BP) – $65,000
  • Tesoro – $65,000
  • ConocoPhillips – $50,000
  • Shell – $50,000
  • Washington Farm Bureau – $50,000
  • Washington Restaurant Association- $45,000
  • Washington Realtors – $25,000
  • Washington Beverage Association (Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper) – $20,000
  • Kemper Holdings – $20,000

Banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, USBank, and the Community Bankers of Washington, put up a combined $37,500. Timber companies, including Sierra Pacific Industries, Boise, Green Diamond Resource Company, Weyerhaeuser, and Port Blakely Tree Farms, likewise put up a combined $38,000.

What do these corporations stand to gain from Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053?

The answer is simple. I-1053 helps them keep their special tax breaks and loopholes in place, because it destroys equal representation in our Legislature. It makes the votes of lawmakers who support the agenda of these corporations worth more than the votes of lawmakers who put the public’s interest first.

See, despite possessing overwhelming wealth and power, these corporations and their lobbyists simply don’t feel like they’re in control of our state.

They are not confident that they’ll be able to buy the votes they need in the future to block legislation they don’t like.

So they are trying to change the rules, as an insurance policy, out of greed, to undemocratically allow a submajority to block revenue increases.

If Initiative 1053 passes, the payoff for these corporations will be much bigger than the money they sunk into it. And that’s what this is all about: Greed.

A desire for bigger, fatter profits.

They don’t care if Washington State goes into the red and has to lay off thousands of public workers, thereby destroying any hope of an economic recovery. They don’t care about our quality of life. They don’t care about our Constitution, the thoughtfully-designed system of law established more than a century ago by our founders. What they want is to get ahead at the expense of everybody else… damn the consequences.

And that’s just wrong.

The team at NPI and Permanent Defense urge Washingtonians to join us this autumn in upholding our Constitution and voting NO on Initiative 1053.

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Statement on Initiative 1053’s qualification for the ballot
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Retired Sacramento Bee reporter Stephen Green explains how California’s version of 1053 has hurt Golden State

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