Voters Want More Choices begins 2011 with no wealthy benefactor in sight

Eye on Money: Developments

New reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission last week indicate that Tim Eyman is still searching for a new benefactor to prop up his sputtering initiative factory, two months after the Mukilteo profiteer revealed he didn’t have the money lined up to buy his way onto the ballot this year.

Excluding a large money transfer from Help Us Help Taxpayers (another one of his PACs), Eyman’s reincarnated Voters Want More Choices committee has brought in just $15,200 so far this year. This sum, along with the aforementioned transfer, is being applied towards the loan Eyman took out against his house last year, leaving Voters Want More Choices with a deficit of $196,101.06.

Years ago, such a debt would have been insignificant, because Eyman’s wealthy benefactor would have taken care of it with a check or two. But so far in 2011, nobody with deep pockets has come to Eyman’s rescue.

If Eyman can’t find a benefactor, he will likely end the year still in debt. At present, Voters Want More Choices is taking in an average of only $7,600 a month. Even if Eyman managed to double his monthly average starting this month, he’d still finish 2011 with only $152,000 raised – not enough to cancel the debt.

Eyman won’t be able to use all of what he raises to pay off his loan, either, because he’ll presumably need to pay himself and his associates.

Eyman no doubt recognizes the predicament he’s in, which explains why he sounds so desperate in his recent letters and emails. Without money – lots of money – the gears of his initiative factory cannot turn.

That was quite evident two months ago when Eyman revealed that, for the first time since the new millennium began, he wouldn’t be doing a signature drive this spring. Instead, he used his annual press conference in the Secretary of State’s office to announce his plans for 2012. It was a telling moment.

Without his initiative factory, Eyman has no real power. He needs it to be in operation so he can enjoy the occasional success and remain relevant.

If history is any indication, Eyman will find a new wealthy benefactor. That’s why it’s important that we spend 2011 in infrastructure-building mode. We have to assume that an I-1053 clone will be on the ballot in 2012, and we have to be prepared to respond forcefully. Voters need to understand what measures like I-1053 are really designed to do: take away majority rule and sabotage representative democracy.

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