November 17th, 2016
Donald Trump admirer and Mukilteo-based initiative profiteer Tim Eyman certainly has been busy the last few weeks — cheering on his pal Ram Roach in her county council race, showing up at the King County Courthouse to attack Dow Constantine, and singing the praises of Doug Ericksen and Michael Baumgartner, who promised this week they’ll make another attempt to subvert majority rule in the Washington State Senate in 2017.
But one thing we know Eyman hasn’t been doing is making a serious attempt to qualify Initiative 869 to the Legislature.
Remember I-869? It’s the initiative Eyman said he was running to sabotage funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs back in June.
Eyman announced I-869 on June 2nd, 2016, writing, “Our newest initiative – ‘We Love Our Cars’ – is an initiative to the legislature. That means we have from now until the end of December – 7 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. There’s no doubt it’s desperately needed.”
Eyman set up a committee named “We Love Our Cars” (identical to the initiative’s aforementioned slogan) to raise money for I-869. At the end of practically every email he’s sent out to his followers since then, he’s included this pitch:
Petitions for “We Love Our Cars” I-869 have been sent out (if you need more, just email or call). Our polling shows it’s another big winner. Please help us make it a reality.
Look at PDC reports filed for “We Love Our Cars”, though, and you’ll see the committee has raised only $159,961.01 . It was seeded with $143,947.61 in unreported mystery money in July (which in September became the subject of a citizen’s action notice sent by Washingtonians For Ethical Government) and has raised only $16,013.40 in cash.
The expense reports don’t show a single expenditure of funds for paid signature gathering. But they do show that last month, Eyman personally reimbursed himself $2,994.01 for “fundraising and travel” and another $1,569.81 for “computer and telephone”. No other expenses — not even one — have been reported for this committee since July.
“Tim Eyman knows that I-869 will soon become his latest failed initiative. We are nearly a month away from the deadline to submit signatures to the 2017 Legislature, and we cannot find any evidence of a signature drive for I-869,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been watchdogging Eyman and his initiative factory for nearly fifteen years.
“Eyman has been unable to secure the megabucks he would have needed to buy I-869 a place on the ballot, and he’s run out of time to launch a signature drive. But it appears he’s intentionally neglected to tell his followers what’s really going on because he feels he must always have something to sell. He only admitted I-1421 was doomed last spring when he was ready to unveil I-869, which took its place.”
“If this pattern holds, Eyman will go on pretending I-869 is still a thing right up until he suddenly swaps it out one day for a new scheme.”
“Tim should level with the people on his email list he’s been asking to give to I-869 and tell them what’s really going on. And he should get expert help to clean up his books so that he can properly comply with our public disclosure laws. The question is, will he? If history is any indication, he won’t. That’s why it is so important he be held accountable. We will continue to do our part, and we hope Attorney General Bob Ferguson will do his.”