June 28th, 2017
When is Tim Eyman going to stop asking his followers to donate to an initiative he knows is dead?
Five months ago, Tim Eyman sent out a flurry of emails excitedly unveiling I-1550, an incredibly destructive initiative seeking to eviscerate the property tax revenues that fund essential local public services across Washington State.
Though Eyman offered no evidence that he had secured commitments from his wealthy benefactors to actually get on the ballot, his “announcement” was nevertheless picked up by the Associated Press and carried by a number of prominent mass media outlets.
“We’re moving full steam ahead,” Eyman declared on January 30th, full of bravado as usual. “We have from now until early July — 5 months or roughly 150 days — to collect over 300,000 voter signatures!! It’s a huge undertaking but the benefits … oh my goodness, the benefits are overwhelmingly positive.”
In less than a week, it will be early July. But unlike in years past, Tim Eyman won’t be showing up at the Secretary of State’s elections annex to unload boxes of petitions and crow about getting on the ballot in front of television cameras, because his scheme to eviscerate property taxes is dead.
It died earlier this year when Eyman failed to land commitments from his whales to underwrite a signature drive.
But you wouldn’t know that from reading Eyman’s emails, because Eyman has yet to acknowledge I-1550’s demise. In fact, he is still asking his small dollar donors to give him money to qualify it to the ballot, with requests like this:
The Property Tax Fairness Initiative is a bold, exciting proposal that helps everyone. It cuts property taxes 25% for everyone, caps property tax increases, and eliminates the personal property tax. It’s all about making property taxes fairer. Help us make it a reality.
If you support the Property Tax Fairness Initiative and appreciate our efforts on behalf of taxpayers, please send us a donation for $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, $2500, $5000 or more (there are no limits on how much can be given).
The above is from an email dated only last week (June 22nd). The same text appeared at the end of emails sent on June 20th, June 15th, and yesterday, June 27th.
“Tim Eyman is well aware that I-1550 will not be on the ballot, but he’s still asking for donations in support of it, like he did with I-869 last year. That’s dishonest,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman’s initiatives for over fifteen years.
“Eyman’s initiative factory has now itself become a deception. This is the fourth consecutive initiative that Eyman has committed to qualifying to the ballot that didn’t go anywhere. The money Eyman is raising through these emails is being used not to run a signature drive for I-1550, but to cover living expenses and overhead.”
“Some of the ‘reimbursements’ on Eyman’s recent expense reports appear to be connected to the lobbying that he’s been doing in Olympia and elsewhere on behalf of top Senate Republican Mark Schoesler and his caucus,” Villeneuve noted.
“Considering that Eyman has essentially become a paid lobbyist, we believe he should be registered with the Public Disclosure Commission. But of course he’s not.”
“We call on Tim Eyman to end his charade and come clean with his followers about what happened to Initiative 1550, as well as the previous initiatives he solicited funds for last year but quietly abandoned, including I-1421 and I-869.”
While simultaneously asking for donations for an initiative that long ago ceased to be a viable project, Eyman is soliciting contributions for a legal defense fund he established to fight lawsuits filed by the State of Washington against him and his initiative factory, as reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Joel Connelly today.
Like his idol Donald Trump, Eyman claims he is the victim of a “witch hunt” organized by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. In reality, Eyman’s woes are all self-inflicted, and all of the lawsuits filed by Ferguson to date have resulted from citizen complaints filed with the Public Disclosure Commission or citizen action notices sent directly to Ferguson’s office.
Thanks to the failure of I-1550, 2017 is set to become the second consecutive year with no Tim Eyman initiative on Washington’s statewide ballot. The last time Washington went two years in a row without voting on an Eyman measure was in 1997 — twenty years ago.