Tim Eyman fails to qualify an initiative to the ballot for the third consecutive year

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This Friday, July 6th, is the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the people for 2018. For the third consecutive year, Tim Eyman won’t have any petitions to turn in, which means that Washingtonians will again be spared in November from having to vote on another destructive scheme cooked up by the lawbreaking initiative promoter.

The last time two or three years passed with no Eyman initiative on the ballot, it was the mid-1990s. In those days, Bill Clinton was the nation’s President, Gary Locke was Governor of Washington, and Slade Gorton was the state’s senior United States Senator.

Eyman has managed to stay in business for an awfully long time thanks to the support of some very rich men, notably the late Michael Dunmire and Bellevue real estate mogul Kemper Freeman, Jr., who have given Eyman millions to keep the gears of his initiative factory turning. But since 2015, Eyman has not been able to secure sufficient commitments from any of his wealthy benefactors to fund new schemes to wreck government.

On seven occasions between then and now — in November 2015, February 2016, June 2016, January 2017, July 2017, December 2017, and April of 2018 — Eyman has announced the launch of a new initiative. Each one has foundered.

To improve the odds for his eighth attempt — which, like three of the past four attempts, is a measure aimed at killing voter-approved transit investments — Eyman says he has cashed out his retirement in order to hire paid signature gatherers.

(Yes, he apparently hates the thought of our region getting the light rail, commuter rail, express bus, and bus rapid transit projects the voters voted for that much.)

Eyman has until the end of the year to fill up petitions for Initiative 976, which seeks to gut funding for Amtrak Cascades, King County Metro, and many other transit agencies as well as Sound Transit. NPI’s Permanent Defense opposes I-976 and has begun organizing an opposition coalition to defend transit funding for communities across Washington State.

In addition to cashing out his retirement, Eyman is also taking a financial hit from having chosen to make stonewalling in the extreme his legal defense strategy.

Eyman is facing four campaign finance enforcement lawsuits filed by the State, three filed in September of 2016 and one in March of 2017. The latter case, widely considered to the most significant of the four, is proceeding at a turtle’s pace thanks in part to Eyman’s determination to obstruct, stonewall, and delay at every turn.

On March 9th, 2018, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon held Eyman and his co-defendants in contempt of court for failing to produce financial records sought by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office. Eyman and his co-defendants have opted to pay the $250 daily fines rather than comply with the court’s orders.

On May 9th, 2018, they paid $40,500 in penalties. They remain in contempt of court.

The case is set for trial by jury this November… the same month that voters will decide who represents them in Congress and in the Washington State Legislature for the next two years, and the same month that voters will be deciding the fate of a bevy of statewide initiatives not sponsored by Eyman.

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