Category Archives: Eye on Money: Developments

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.

In fundraising letter, Eyman claims he has “whittled down” I-1053 debt to “below $200K”

Eye on Money: Developments

Since announcing to his followers that he was “hitting the big panic button” a few weeks ago, Tim Eyman has managed to shave $38,000 plus off the total amount of his outstanding debt from last year. Or so he claims in a fundraising appeal recently sent out via snail mail and forwarded to NPI’s Permanent Defense.

The letter doesn’t say how Eyman managed to “whittle” his I-1053 down to “under $200k”; nor does it disclose exactly how much of Eyman’s debt is still outstanding.

Given how anemic Eyman’s fundraising has been, we’re inclined to think at least a chunk of that money is from either wealthy conservatives (like Bellevue Square owner Kemper Freeman Jr., an Eyman fan) or from corporations (Association of Washington Business chieftain Don Brunell urged lobbyists last fall to help Eyman cover his debt).

Reports for contributions received in February are due March 10th, so at that time, we should be able to see just who has been funneling money into Eyman’s presently idle initiative factory… if Eyman’s treasurer files the reports on time.

Eyman says he’s “hitting the big panic button”

Eye on Money: Developments

Apparently unable to convince either corporate lobbyists or Michael Dunmire to pony up the cash needed to pay off the $250,000 loan he took out against his house to help finance I-1053, Tim Eyman is shaking his electronic tin cup harder than ever, pleading with his supporters to help pay off the debt so he can move forward with his next scheme. In a message sent out this morning, Eyman says:

I haven’t been showing it, but I’m seriously concerned. We are raising funds for the next 2/3’s initiative and to pay off my 2nd mortgage loan (when donations weren’t coming in fast enough to pay the bills for last year’s I-1053 signature drive, I loaned the campaign $250,000 that got I-1053 over the finish line). I said to myself “it’s either this or we fail” and decided that I-1053 was just too important to fall short. So I jumped off that steep cliff hoping and praying that our supporters — all of you — would catch me this year. We have spent the last month highlighting some bad anti-1053 bills, asking you to email legislators, and helping with some local initiatives. But thus far, we’ve not hit the big panic button on this top priority.


Eyman claims he has only managed to pay off $12,000 of the $250,000 loan, leaving him with $238,000 in debt. “[I]magine how scary that is for the Eyman family,” he says later in the message.

Wait a second… Tim Eyman is asking for sympathy? Now that’s rich!

Considering the way he treats others (belittling elected leaders, demonizing public servants, and attempting to undermine the public’s trust in government), he’s the last person in the state who is deserving of anyone’s sympathy.

Eyman created his own financial crisis by using his house as collateral to secure funds for his 2010 initiative. He took a risk and now he’s going to have to deal with the consequences. Given how little money he raised independently last year (more than 80% of the money for I-1053 came from corporations) we’re guessing the loan won’t be paid off until Eyman hooks up with a new sugar daddy… or an old one.

BP again donates to 1053; JPMorgan Chase joins pantheon of greedy corporations trying to sabotage democracy

Ballot WatchdoggingEye on Money: Developments

As elections officials across Washington State prepare to put several million ballots in the mail to Washingtonians, skittish corporate operatives working for the Association of Washington Business are busily soliciting and accepting funds to prop up Tim Eyman’s scheme to sabotage our democracy, which they apparently fear isn’t going to sell itself despite Tim’s gift for media manipulation.

Days after the AWB itself loaned $60,000 to “Citizens for Responsible Spending” (which is not run by or for any “citizens”), a new onslaught of checks suddenly began arriving from wealthy corporations.

Since the beginning of the month, Tesoro and ConocoPhillips have each put up another $25,000, while BP contributed $35,000, bringing its aggregate total to $100,000 and making it the single largest corporate donor to Tim Eyman’s assault on our cherished tradition of majority rule.

Banking giant JPMorgan Chase, which acquired WaMu from the FDIC in a hastily-arranged fire sale only two years ago, sent in $30,000 at about the same time. Chase is the fourth Wall Street bank to contribute to I-1053 (the others are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and USBank).

“It’s ironic that so many Wall Street banks, which nearly collapsed under the weight of all the bad bets they made, are trying to wreck our state government so it can’t work for us after being bailed out by the federal government,” said NPI Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “Their shamelessness knows no bounds. Let’s be clear: This is about wanton, unchecked greed. It’s as simple as that. ”

An updated analysis by NPI has found that a whopping ninety one percent of the money behind I-1053 came from a corporation. Only nine percent came from individuals, and some of the individual donors are affiliated with corporations that donated.

The analysis found that:

  • $315,000 came from big oil companies,
  • $305,589.89 came from corporate trade groups and lobbies like the Farm Bureau, Realtors, Bankers Association, and the Association of Washington Business,
  • $93,000 came from timber and pulp companies,
  • $57,500 came from Wall Street banks,
  • $65,000 came from real estate developers like Kemper Freeman Jr./Martin Selig,
  • $114,968.00 came from other companies large and small, including Alaska Airlines, Philip Morris USA, Schnitzer Steel, Liberty Mutual Group, and Simplot.
  • Only $91,123.40 came from individuals.

A breakdown is available at

“Were it not for the likes of BP, Bank of America, Tesoro, JPMorgan Chase, ConocoPhillips, and Simpson/Green Diamond Resource Co., we would not be voting on Initiative 1053. This is not a citizen’s initiative. It’s a cold, caclulated attempt to trick we the people of Washington into giving up our sovereignty,” Villeneuve said. “The corporate lobbyists behind 1053 want to tighten their grip on our Capitol. Under this measure, all they have to do is persuade seventeen of Washington’s forty nine senators to side with them and they can defeat any bill that would end their special tax breaks. That’s not democratic, fair, or constitutional.”

Learn more about why Initiative 1053 is a bad idea.

Eyman asks followers to help him retire his debt; fails to acknowledge or thank his corporate backers

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsRethinking and Reframing

Admitting that “times are tough for everyone”, Mukilteo initiative profiteer Tim Eyman shook his electronic tin cup again today, asking his followers to help retire $250,000 in debt he incurred while trying to come up with funds for I-1053’s signature drive.

“After paying for mortgage/rent, vehicle costs, food, and other family expenses, it’s difficult to find ‘extra money’ to support political efforts, like our initiatives, that move our state in a more pro-freedom, pro-reform, pro-taxpayer direction,” Eyman wrote.  “We understand that. So as donations were coming in for I-1053’s signature drive, it became increasingly apparent that they weren’t coming in at a pace that would have allowed the signature drive to be successful.”

Translation: Eyman couldn’t get seed money from his sugar daddy Michael Dunmire for I-1053 early this year, which meant the measure’s signature drive was in jeopardy. Eyman was thus compelled to take matters into his own hands.

Eyman’s base of grassroots right-wing donors shriveled up long ago; Dunmire has been underwriting Eyman’s campaigns with six figure checks since his failed partnership with the gambling industry in 2004.

This year, however, Dunmire was apparently unwilling to refill Eyman’s coffers as he has for the past half-decade. Eyman started borrowing against his house – again – but this time, with the knowledge that it wouldn’t be enough. So while he looked for a new patron (or patrons), he went into debt.

As Eyman related in his email (referring to himself in the third person):

[F]rom May through June, Tim accessed his bank’s line of credit, secured by a 2nd mortgage on his home, and loaned the signature drive for I-1053 a total of $250,000 ($50,000 in April, $40,000 in May, $70,000 in early June and $90,000 in late June). This was, by no means, our first choice. But given the difficulty of our supporters to donate to our initiative during these tough economic times, it was the only way we could ensure the success of I-1053.

When Eyman says “our supporters”, he’s obviously referring to the dwindling number of loyal donors who have stuck with him year after year, contributing to each new initiative effort.

But what about his new patrons… the corporations and trade groups that put up most of the money for Initiative 1053? Don’t they get any acknowledgment or thanks?

The only reason I-1053 “made it” is because several dozen corporations collectively put up close to $600,000 to help Eyman. Not counting Eyman’s loan, their contributions constitute about 76% of the funding for I-1053. That’s more than three fourths!

The top corporate and trade group contributors to I-1053 are:

  • BP (yes, that BP) – $65,000
  • Tesoro – $65,000
  • ConocoPhillips – $50,000
  • Shell – $50,000
  • Washington Farm Bureau – $50,000
  • Washington Restaurant Association- $45,000
  • Washington Realtors – $25,000
  • Washington Beverage Association (Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper) – $20,000
  • Kemper Holdings – $20,000

Banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, USBank, and the Community Bankers of Washington, put up a combined $37,500. Timber companies, including Sierra Pacific Industries, Boise, Green Diamond Resource Company, Weyerhaeuser, and Port Blakely Tree Farms, likewise put up a combined $38,000.

What do these corporations stand to gain from Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053?

The answer is simple. I-1053 helps them keep their special tax breaks and loopholes in place, because it destroys equal representation in our Legislature. It makes the votes of lawmakers who support the agenda of these corporations worth more than the votes of lawmakers who put the public’s interest first.

See, despite possessing overwhelming wealth and power, these corporations and their lobbyists simply don’t feel like they’re in control of our state.

They are not confident that they’ll be able to buy the votes they need in the future to block legislation they don’t like.

So they are trying to change the rules, as an insurance policy, out of greed, to undemocratically allow a submajority to block revenue increases.

If Initiative 1053 passes, the payoff for these corporations will be much bigger than the money they sunk into it. And that’s what this is all about: Greed.

A desire for bigger, fatter profits.

They don’t care if Washington State goes into the red and has to lay off thousands of public workers, thereby destroying any hope of an economic recovery. They don’t care about our quality of life. They don’t care about our Constitution, the thoughtfully-designed system of law established more than a century ago by our founders. What they want is to get ahead at the expense of everybody else… damn the consequences.

And that’s just wrong.

The team at NPI and Permanent Defense urge Washingtonians to join us this autumn in upholding our Constitution and voting NO on Initiative 1053.

PDC reports for June 2010 show that Tim Eyman is rolling in corporate cash

Ballot WatchdoggingEye on Money: DevelopmentsThreat Analysis

This morning, Tim Eyman sent out another email to his supporters thanking them for their efforts getting Initiative 1053 on the ballot.

Eyman wrote: “When Olympia sidesteps a law like I-960 (which voters approved in 2007), they count on the citizens to not have the energy or enthusiasm to roll that boulder back up the mountain again.  They count on us to give up — to throw up our hands and say ‘you can’t beat city hall.'”

Reporters with sharp eyes might have noticed there was a typo in that paragraph: the word “citizens” should be “corporations”.

After all, corporations like BP (big profits… bad people… yes, that BP) are the only reason Initiative 1053 is on the ballot.

New PDC reports filed by Tim Eyman’s campaign committee for June 2010 reveal that a massive influx of corporate cash helped the Mukilteo profiteer buy the signatures he needed to get on the ballot during the final few weeks of initiative season.

Yesterday evening, the NPI Advocate broke the news that BP – the polluting oil giant responsible for the biggest environmental disaster in American history – is one of the top donors to I-1053. BP shelled out a combined $65,000 to two I-1053 political action committees in June… Voters Want More Choices and “Citizens for Responsible Spending”.

Other corporations that ponied up for I-1053 include Bank of America, USBank, Alaska Airlines, Sierra Pacific Industries, Green Diamond Resource Co., Tesoro, Equilon, Liberty Mutual, Plum Creek, Darigold, and ConocoPhillips. Several trade groups, including the Washington Oil Marketers Association, Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Restaurant Association, and Washington Bankers Association, are also principal donors to the campaign.

“It’s clear from these June reports that corporate lobbyists have taken over for Michael Dunmire as Tim Eyman’s sugar daddy,” said NPI Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve in a news release sent out to the traditional media.

“For years, Eyman has blasted ‘big business’ as an enemy of the people and an obstacle to his initiatives. Now, he’s rolling in their cash. How ironic.”

“And yet, it is fitting that Tim Eyman and many of America’s biggest and most irresponsible corporations are now joined at the hip,” Villeneuve observed. “They’re both united by a shared vice: Greed. At a time when we need to be pulling together and strengthening our common wealth to ensure our economy recovers, they are trying to put themselves ahead of everybody else.”

Oil companies already receive huge federal subsidies and banks have benefited from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, otherwise known as the bank bailout.

“The corporations that are backing Tim Eyman continue to take advantage of our federal common wealth whilst writing big checks to an initiative that would prevent our Legislature from acting to protect public services here in this Washington,” Villeneuve said. “They have a shameless double standard. They’ll take as much as they can for themselves, but they don’t want to pay their dues.”

NPI and Permanent Defense recently launched a new website to expose the corporations that are trying to make a quick buck by conning the people of Washington into voting for ill-conceived initiatives that would weaken or privatize public services.

This website,, includes a Rogues’ Gallery profiling the corporations that have sunk the most money into five initiatives that will appear on this November’s ballot. The Gallery will be updated accordingly to reflect the latest PDC reports this week and in the weeks to come.

Eyman loans I-1053 campaign committee $50,000, doesn’t tell supporters

Ballot WatchdoggingEye on Money: DevelopmentsThreat Analysis

As required by law, Tim Eyman’s treasurer is in the midst of uploading the April 2010 campaign finance reports for the latest incarnation of the Mukilteo profiteer’s campaign committee (Voters Want More Choices Save the Two Thirds for Tax Increases). Surprisingly, the reports show that Eyman’s wealthy benefactor Michael Dunmire — a cosponsor of Initiative 1053 — has still not written any checks to Eyman’s current initiative campaign (although that doesn’t mean he still won’t).

Consequently, Eyman’s fundraising has been so anemic that Eyman has once again been compelled to loan his initiative factory money. According to the April Schedule L, Eyman loaned Voters Want More Choices $30,000 on April 24th, 2010. Two days later (April 26th), he wrote a check to Citizen Solutions (who employ mercenary petitioners on Eyman’s behalf) for the exact same amount. Five days later, on April 29th, Eyman loaned Voters Want More Choices an additional $20,000. He wrote Citizen Solutions another check for $25,000 the following day (April 30th)..

Considering that Eyman still has loans outstanding from I-1033, it seems unlikely he could continue to self-fund his own signature drive.

Perhaps he’s decided to buy himself as many signatures as he can whilst hoping that Dunmire eventually comes through for him.

But if that’s his game plan, he hasn’t bothered to clue in his supporters.

Eyman’s paid mercenaries are set to hit the streets with I-1053 petitions

Ballot WatchdoggingEye on Money: DevelopmentsThreat Analysis

Mercenary signature gatherers hawking petitions for Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053 will be hitting the streets over the next few days, Permanent Defense has learned.

Individuals with knowledge of Eyman’s activities have confirmed to Permanent Defense that the Mukilteo profiteer is once again hiring his pals Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agrazarm, who run “Citizen Solutions”, to orchestrate the paid signature gathering drive for Initiative 1053. Coincidentally, Eyman has issued two appeals for money to his supporters this week. Eyman wrote today:

To be successful, we need everyone — from now until July 2nd — to focus and concentrate on ways to get signatures and raise funds. Everything else is a distant, distant second.

I’m calling and meeting with supporters every day and Jack & Mike are busting their butts processing petitions and checks and credit card donations. Raising funds for signature gathering is the most important. It’s the lifeblood of this effort.

Partially-filled and fully-filled petitions are arriving every day now in our post office box in Spokane but not at a pace to ensure success. We’ve got to pick up the pace on signatures and money.

Apparently, Eyman’s patron Michael Dunmire hasn’t written his annual check yet. Last year, Dunmire paid off the loans Eyman took out for Initiative 985 and then provided several hundred thousand dollars for Initiative 1033. So far, however, he has not refilled the coffers for Eyman’s “Voters Want More Choices” committee, even though he is a co-sponsor of I-1053.

I-1033’s placement on ballot bought and paid for by Michael Dunmire

Eye on Money: Developments

In an email sent out today to supporters and copied to the media, Tim Eyman is once again hypocritically criticizing opponents of his latest destructive initiative for contributing large amounts of money to stop it from passing. Eyman singled out several unions and their international affiliates, sneering, “Washington DC’s most powerful government unions are seeking to buy this year’s election on I-1033 — $2.6 million+ reported so far and much more expected.”

Eyman may enjoy pretending to be a populist, but he knows perfectly well we are only voting on Initiative 1033 because its placement on the ballot was bought and paid for by an angry investment banker who despises government.

Eyman acknowledges in his email that his initiative factory received a $300,000 donation from “super supporter” Michael Dunmire back in the spring. What he doesn’t admit was that Initiative 1033 could not have qualified for the ballot without Dunmire.

For the last four years, Dunmire has kept Eyman’s operation going by repeatedly dumping enormous sums of money into Eyman’s bank account, allowing Eyman to continually buy his way onto the ballot: in 2005 with Initiative 900, in 2007 with Initiative 960, in 2008 with Initiative 985, and almost in 2006 with Initiative 917, which looked like it would initially be on the ballot but ultimately self-imploded because it lacked enough valid signatures.

In 2008, Eyman used a combination of Dunmire’s money and a loan taken out against his home to come up with enough cash to buy I-985 onto the ballot, a formula he relied upon again this year. Last year’s loans, however, were fully covered by Dunmire, who wrote two checks on February 6th, 2009, for a total of $280,000. Eyman used this money to repay the $175,000 loan he had taken out for I-985, and three days later, he and the Fagans used the rest to compensate themselves. (See the C4 report and Amended Schedules A and L for, 3/10/2009 reporting date.)

If history is any indication, Dunmire will be paying off Eyman’s $250,000 loan for Initiative 1033 this winter, which woud then put his financial backing of I-1033 at a total of at least $550,000. Out of a total of $670,169 raised by Eyman this year for I-1033, that would be about 82%. Eighty two percent.

Without Dunmire, Eyman simply could not afford to hire signature gatherers to set up shop outside of stores and at events to pester citizens to autograph his initiative petitions. And without the signatures he purchases, Eyman couldn’t qualify for the ballot.

Dunmire’s cash makes it possible. That’s all it takes. But that’s not grassroots.

Eyman’s small dollar donations and the number of signatures collected by volunteers are insignificant compared to Dunmire’s checks and the number of signatures collected by mercenary petitioners.

Unlike SEIU, NEA, AFSCME, or any of the unions Eyman is condemning, his backer represents only one person: Michael Dunmire. Unions opposed to Initiative 1033, in contrast, represent thousands or tens of thousands of working families whose livelihood is directly threatened by Eyman’s jobs-killing wealth transfer scheme.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows politics that organized labor would donate heavily to defeat a ballot measure which not only puts its own members’ jobs in jeopardy, but punishes small businesses and destroys any hope of economic recovery for our state. This battle will decide Washington’s future. Unions are doing their part to ensure the opposition campaign has ample resources to explain to voters the devastating consequences I-1033 would have on our quality of life.

Eyman has no ground to stand upon when he criticizes opponents for relying on big bucks to build a war chest to educate voters. He qualifies initiatives by getting one rich guy to write him a couple checks.

If Tim Eyman doesn’t like big money in politics, he should stop relying on big money – one man’s money – to bankroll his initiatives and his “compensation fund”. Otherwise, he has no right to complain.

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