Snake oil purveyor Tim Eyman says he’s going to announce new initiative next week — but are his wealthy benefactors on board?

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Scam artist and snake oil purveyor Tim Eyman — who remains under investigation by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office for serious violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws — said in an email today that he will be announcing a new initiative he intends to qualify to the 2017 ballot this coming Monday, January 30th, following his appearance at a weekend gathering of right wing political operatives in Ocean Shores.

Monday’s “announcement” will be Eyman’s fourth such initiative unveiling since the November 2015 general election fifteen months ago. The three previously-announced initiatives came to nothing after Eyman was unable to secure the funding to run a signature drive for any of them. Here’s a recap for those who enjoy keeping score, like we do:

  • November 17th, 2015: Tim Eyman announces he plans to file and qualify an initiative for 2016 that would force any increase in state revenue approved by the Legislature without a two-thirds vote to expire after one year. “We’ve going pedal to the metal on this new initiative,” Eyman vows in the hours preceding a mean-spirited, crudely-orchestrated media event on the Capitol Campus. “Yesterday, we formed and filed paperwork for a separate, stand-alone political action committee: Tougher To Raise Taxes. We’ve now begun raising money for a financial war-chest for this new initiative,” he adds. But due to a lack of commitments from wealthy benefactors, his planned initiative never reaches the signature gathering stage.
  • February 8th, 2016: Tim Eyman launches I-1421, a second initiative for 2016 intended to wipe out funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs — and brings pre-printed petitions and t-shirts to his press conference in an attempt to convince reporters and the public that this campaign is for real. “We have from now until July 8th to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures,” Eyman writes in an email sent out that same day. “The only way that’s gonna happen is with every single one of us putting forth a Herculean effort. We need a ton of volunteers to collect signatures. We need to distribute a ton of petitions. We need to raise a ton of money to hire paid petitioners. Voters are gonna be eager to sign our petitions — we need your help to give them every opportunity to sign.” But the funding never materializes, and within a few months, Eyman is forced to acknowledge he’s abandoned I-1421.
  • June 2nd, 2016: Tim Eyman announces he’s still trying to eviscerate funding for rail transit after admitting to The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield that I-1421 “never took off”. Due to having run out of time to qualify anything for the November 2016 ballot, Eyman files this third scheme, I-869, as an initiative to the Legislature for the following year, instead of as an initiative to the people. “Our newest initiative – ‘We Love Our Cars’ – is an initiative to the legislature,” Eyman writes in an email that day. “That means we have from now until the end of December – seven full months – to collect the 300,000 signatures needed.  So we have all summer and fall – June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec – to qualify this important initiative for the ballot.” Despite having all that time to put together a signature drive, Eyman again fails to secure the necessary funding and I-869 dies without acknowledgment from Eyman.

“Three times during the past fifteen months, Tim Eyman has made a big show of launching a new initiative that he didn’t actually have financing for,” noted Andrew Villeneuve, founder and Executive Director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, who has been building progressive infrastructure to defeat right wing initiatives and advance progressive causes since February of 2002, when NPI’s Permanent Defense was launched.

Whatever Eyman has planned for Monday is dead on arrival unless he’s convinced his wealthy benefactors to turn the cash spigot back on. But why should they do that when he has repeatedly demonstrated he cannot be trusted with their money — or anyone else’s money? Eyman is a serial public disclosure law violator and an admitted liar who has spent the past year sending incessant appeals for money to a shrinking base of followers while opening himself up to greater and greater liability by continuing to blatantly violate our state’s public disclosure laws.

“In the unfortunate event Eyman has secured financing for a 2017 initiative or does in time to buy his way onto the ballot, we are prepared to immediately begin pulling together a coalition to protect our Constitution and our common wealth,” said Villeneuve. “We must uphold Washington’s finest traditional values — empathy, mutual responsibility, fairness, and opportunity — especially with Donald Trump wreaking havoc at the federal level. In partnership with other caring Washingtonians, we will continue to ensure Eyman’s destructive initiatives get the vigorous opposition they deserve.”

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