Category Archives: Statements & Advisories

WFEG, NPI thank Attorney General Ferguson for filing new charges against Tim Eyman

Statements & Advisories

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman is facing new charges that he failed to follow Washington’s public disclosure laws when he set up his latest ballot measure committee (“We Love Our Cars”) after attorneys for the State of Washington filed an amended campaign finance complaint against him and his co-defendants in Thurston County Superior Court.

The amended complaint was prompted by a citizen’s action notice filed on September 16th by Washingtonians For Ethical Government (WFEG), a nonprofit founded to serve as a people’s campaign finance watchdog for the Evergreen State.

WFEG previously sent a citizen’s action notice in the spring that alleged another one of Eyman’s committees had failed to properly report an independent expenditure. PDC staff found merit to the allegations and they were incorporated into one of three complaints filed by Ferguson’s office in Thurston County Superior Court back in September.

WFEG boardmember and Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI) Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve thanked Attorney General Ferguson’s office for reviewing the allegations and determining there was sufficient evidence to file new charges.

“Tim Eyman is a serial violator of our state’s public disclosure laws,” said Villeneuve. “Even while under investigation for concealment by Attorney General Ferguson’s office, Eyman and his associates have continued to brazenly flout RCW Chapter 42.17A. When they set up their newest committee, ‘We Love Our Cars’, they failed to account for where the committee’s startup money, totaling $143,947.61, came from. The law explicitly requires that they report the source of their contributions. They didn’t do that when they set up this committee, and incredibly, they still haven’t.”

“We Love Our Cars” was formed to promote I-869, an initiative to the Legislature intended to wipe out funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs. In emails to his followers, Eyman is still regularly pitching the initiative and asking for money to qualify it, but NPI has found no evidence of a signature drive and the committee’s only reported expenditures in months have been to reimburse Eyman for travel expenses and computer and telephone expenses.

The deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the 2017 Legislature is at the end of this month, so Eyman only has a few more weeks to pretend that I-869 is an active effort.

Eyman and his associates are already in trouble for a number of previous violations of RCW Chapter 42.17A, including violations uncovered by the Northwest Progressive Institute and Washingtonians For Ethical Government earlier this year.

As mentioned, the discovery of these violations led to the filing of three lawsuits in September by Ferguson’s office, one of which has now been amended to incorporate the new charges.

“Tim Eyman and his associates have been in politics for a long time and must be held accountable for their continued lawbreaking,” said Villeneuve. “They have been given many, many chances to voluntarily comply with the reporting requirements of RCW Chapter 42.17A and clean up their act. They have neglected to do so. Significant penalties should be imposed by the courts against them as a consequence.”

Washingtonians For Ethical Government is represented by Knoll Lowney of Smith & Lowney, PLLC. Knoll Lowney’s past 45-day notice letters have resulted in significant penalties and litigation. His 45-day notice letter against the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) resulted in the imposition of a $584,000 penalty against the BIAW’s for-profit affiliate. More recently, his 45-day notice letter against the Grocery Manufacturers Association led to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office litigating what it calls “the largest political funding concealment case in state history.”

Tim Eyman’s latest scam: Fundraising for an anti-transit initiative he knows is dead

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

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.”

NPI thanks Attorney General Bob Ferguson for filing three new campaign finance complaints against Tim Eyman

Statements & Advisories

Today, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office announced that the State of Washington has filed three new campaign finance complaints against initiative promoter Tim Eyman and his associates in Thurston County Superior Court. The complaints concern violations of RCW Chapter 42.17A uncovered by NPI’s Permanent Defense, Washingtonians For Ethical Government (WFEG), and Keep Washington Rolling (KWR), which were the subject of a set of citizen action notices sent by WFEG and KWR in May and June.

RCW 42.17A.765 (4) allows a person or organization who believes Washington’s public disclosure laws to have been violated to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the state to enforce the law, but only if the Attorney General and the Prosecuting Attorney of the county in which the violation occurred are given an opportunity to sue first and choose not to do so.

The citizen’s action is a crucially important enforcement tool, because the Public Disclosure Commission can take a long time to process traditional complaints due to being underfunded and understaffed. For example, more than three years transpired before Sherry Bockwinkel’s 2012 complaint against Tim Eyman and his campaign committees was fully investigated by PDC staff and acted on by the Commission.

One year ago, in September of 2015, the PDC unanimously voted to refer that case to Ferguson’s office for further action. Ferguon’s investigators have spent months trying to acquire the evidence they need to complete their investigation, but they’ve been hindered by Eyman and his associates’ repeated refusal to cooperate. Over the summer, attorneys representing the people of Washington went to court to compel Eyman’s cooperation.

In the meantime, Eyman has continued to brazenly flout RCW Chapter 42.17A. NPI believes aggressive and timely enforcement is needed to prevent Eyman from making a mockery of Washington’s public disclosure laws, and is committed to doing its part to uncover future potential violations and laying the groundwork for speedy prosecution of those violations.

Working with Washingtonians For Ethical Government, NPI recently discovered that Eyman had once again broken the law by concealing the source of most of the funds raised by his newest political committee, We Love Our Cars, which was formed in June. This month, WFEG notified Attorney General Ferguson and King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg it plans to file suit against Eyman over this concealment through another citizen’s action.

“Tim Eyman is a serial offender who continues to violate our public disclosure laws with impunity,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who also serves as a boardmember of Washingtonians For Ethical Government. “Justice is not served when it takes years for prolific violators like Eyman to be held accountable for flouting the basic reporting rules established by the people and the people’s legislators to shine a light on money in politics in Washington.”

“Fortunately, the law provides a useful tool for expediting enforcement: the citizen’s action. These complaints all appropriately began with the sending of citizen’s action notices. We thank Attorney General Ferguson for stepping up to take on these cases. We will be following future developments with great interest.”

Tim Eyman concedes he won’t make 2016 ballot; NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight I-869

Ballot WatchdoggingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Implicitly conceding at last that he doesn’t actually have a paid signature drive in the field and thus won’t have anything on the 2016 ballot, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman announced this morning that he’s devoting his energies to qualifying a new initiative for 2017 that would eviscerate funding for roads and transit at both the state and regional levels.

“Today is the third time in the past seven months that Tim Eyman has ‘launched’ a new initiative,” noted Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for over fourteen years.

“The first time was back in November of 2015 when he said he was doing a follow-up to I-1366 to require revenue increases to expire after a year. Then, in February, he said he was also going to try to qualify to the 2016 ballot I-1421, an initiative to repeal vehicle fees. Now he says he’s doing I-869, a similar initiative to the Legislature for 2017. His announcement today makes no reference to either of those previously planned initiatives.”

“And that’s no accident. Eyman doesn’t like to dwell on failure, and it’s evident at this point he will fail to make the 2016 ballot with anything. It appears the good people of Washington will once again be able to enjoy an Eyman-free election this autumn, while having the opportunity to consider several progressive initiatives that would move our state forward. That’s a victory we will be celebrating all summer long.”

“Time will tell if I-869 is for real or not. Remember, Eyman printed up petitions for I-1421 too — and even made a big show of being the first to sign one in front of television cameras — but I-1421 has now been abandoned. I-869 won’t make it either unless Eyman has commitments from his wealthy benefactors to fund a signature drive. The gears of his initiative factory simply cannot turn without big money.”

In the event I-869 does have serious money behind it, NPI’s Permanent Defense is prepared to fight it and defeat it, together with the Keep Washington Rolling coalition and many other allies.

“Tim Eyman has tried to mess with mobility in our state many times before and been defeated,” Villeneuve observed.

“In 2000, he qualified a scheme to take money away from transit and spend it on highway construction. Voters defeated it. In 2008, he qualified a scheme to eviscerate our HOV system. Voters defeated it. In 2011, he qualified a scheme to prohibit variable tolling and block East Link light rail. Voters defeated it.”

Eyman claims that a survey he paid for shows that I-869 is wildly popular, but the press and public should be aware Eyman says that about all of his initiatives.

Prior to the 2005 general election, Eyman boasted that John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur’s initiative to repeal the fuel tax increases approved by the 2005 Legislature as part of that year’s transportation package was destined for certain victory. Following I-912’s qualification, many pundits shared that view, or were skeptical that I-912 could be beaten.

“With I-912, inevitably approved this fall, voters will say NO to Queen Christine’s underhanded effort to sneak through a multi-billion tax increase when the voters clearly opposed it,” Tim Eyman wrote in a September 26th, 2005 email.

But instead, much to Eyman’s astonishment, I-912 was defeated by voters in a landmark victory, after opponents successfully waged a compelling NO campaign.

NPI is a veteran of that campaign, as are the many organizations that belong to Keep Washington Rolling.

“Voters have repeatedly said no to right wing initiatives that would mess with our transportation system, but Eyman refuses to listen,” said Villeneuve. “The will of the voters clearly doesn’t matter to him. He just keeps recycling the same awful ideas, election cycle after election cycle. We are prepared and committed to ensuring that I-869 ends up in the same graveyard as most of Eyman’s other initiatives, should it end up qualifying to the Legislature at the end of the year. The investments we’ve made to strengthen mobility in Washington must be protected.”

An updated version of Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart, documenting the long list of Eyman initiatives that have either failed to make the ballot, been defeated by voters, or struck down as unconstitutional may be viewed on Permanent Defense’s website.

I-695’s devastating impact is no laughing matter

Election PostmortemRethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Irked by a letter to the editor published by The Herald of Everett, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman this morning sent out an email to his followers ridiculing elected representatives and civic leaders over their opposition to I-695 (on the ballot in November of 1999), which wiped out billions of dollars in funding for public services following its implementation by the Legislature in 2000.

“[F]or nearly a decade, our initiative was blamed for most everything. ‘Heavy rainfall in Seattle caused by I-695’ — ‘I-695 spurs riots in LA’ — ‘Earthquake in East Timor exacerbated by I-695’. Our opponents couldn’t get enough of it. But eventually, their silliness eventually dissipated,” Eyman wrote in his email.

To NPI’s knowledge, no one opposed to I-695 has blamed it for out-of-state civil unrest, bad weather, or earthquakes abroad. However, Eyman’s I-695 has been blamed — and deservedly so — for having made our tax code more regressive and weakened the vital public services which our tax system funds.

The devastating impacts of I-695 are no laughing matter, nor were they overstated by Lynnwood’s Jerry Fraser in his letter to the editor.

Before I-695 was reinstated by Governor Gary Locke and lawmakers, the state-level MVET was projected to bring in more than one and half billion dollars during the 2001-2003 biennium, as noted by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) in its 1999 fiscal impact statement:

In the aggregate, I-695 would reduce motor vehicle taxes and fees by up to $1.1 billion in the 1999-01 Biennium and by up to $1.7 billion in the 2001-03 Biennium… As detailed on Table 1, the initiative would eliminate up to $1.1 billion in state revenues in the 1999-01 Biennium and up to $1.7 billion in the 2001-03 Biennium, which currently support transportation, criminal justice, public health, and other programs.  It also repeals the statutory method for the valuation of vehicles, as well as the distribution formulas for MVET revenue.

OFM’s analysis went on to offer a list of major public services funded by the state MVET:

  • Local transit districts
  • County public health account
  • Distressed county assistance account
  • Ferry capital construction account
  • Ferry operations account
  • Motor vehicle fund
  • Transportation fund
  • City & county sales tax equalization
  • Municipal & county criminal justice

Prior to its repeal, about 47% of the statewide MVET went to state transportation, while 29% went to local transit agencies and 24% went to local governments.

Below is a compendium of four fact sheets documenting the impact that I-695 was projected to have on a selection of county and city governments throughout the state:

Passage of Tim Eyman’s I-695, and the Legislature’s subsequent decision to reinstate it after it was struck down by the State Supreme Court in the ATU case had huge ramifications (like delayed/lost bond sales), and ushered in an era of backfilling at all levels of government that went on for years.

“We’re not even close to filling the holes,” State Representative Hans Dunshee told The Seattle Times a few months after the 1999 general election. “The largest impacts of I-695 will be unaddressed. That’s going to take more working and more thinking.”

Times editors felt the fallout from I-695 was so significant and newsworthy that they established a special section on seattletimes.com to chronicle developments.

To replace the sudden, giant funding loss resulting from I-695, state agencies and local governments across Washington were forced to resort to drastic emergency measures.

Washington State Ferries was forced to hike fares dramatically (because funding for operations decreased by 58% and capital funding decreased by 70%).

The City of Mountlake Terrace stopped providing animal control.

Washington State University instructed its extension offices to begin preparing for massive budget cuts.

And the laudable goal of reducing class size and putting more money into schools fell by the wayside as the Legislature struggled to backfill the loss of MVET money.

In some cases, voters were asked to approve tax increases to replace lost funding.

In Longview, voters were asked to approve a flood control levy (and they said yes). The success of the levy mitigated one problem, but basic and essential public services still took a big hit in a Longview. The Daily News reported on November 16th, 2000:

The loss of motor vehicle excise taxes with last year’s passage of Initiative 695 hit Longview hard, and will reduce city revenue by about $1.4 million in 2001-2002, [Longview finance director Kurt] Sacha said. All city departments took cuts, and Longview police lost five officer positions in 2000.

King County Metro also went to the voters to gain back lost funding (and again, the voters said yes). Unfortunately, in Metro’s case, the mechanism the Legislature came up with to allow the agency to backfill from I-695 was an increase in its sales tax authority.

So even though the voters said yes to Metro’s request, the dot-com bust wiped out the projected revenue, as this 2010 King County Metro “System Overview” presentation explained on Slide 19 (“Funding Issues”):

  • 1999: I-695 approved. Metro’s funding reduced by $110 million per year (29% of budget)
  • 2000: Transit sales tax authority raised by Legislature to 0.9 percent
  • 2000: 0.2 percent Metro sales tax approved
  • 2000: Dot com bust: The projected sales tax growth to fund most of the service adds in the plan is lost
  • Plan became largely unfunded, but included the revised allocation policy of “40-40-20

In Snohomish County, Community Transit initially responded to I-695 by laying off dozens off bus drivers. Here’s how the Seattle Times reported it:

You’re a mean one, Mr. Eyman. All the bus drivers in Whoville say so.

Whoville, of course, is where the Grinch stole Christmas. And Community Transit (CT) drivers in Snohomish County who received layoff notices on the eve of the holidays want everyone to know that Initiative 695 sponsor Tim Eyman is their Grinch.

They gathered yesterday at the Labor Temple here to tell how Eyman – and the state’s voters – took their holiday cheer.

Pink slips were handed to 90 CT drivers and other employees earlier this month, announcing layoffs effective Feb. 6. Thirty other employees will be cut from full- to part-time status. The move was made in response to a projected loss of $18.7 million, 30 percent of CT’s budget next year.

Community Transit subsequently reversed some cuts to bus service using temporary funding. County leaders warned residents at the time that the service restorations might not be permanent. And sure enough, they weren’t. Sunday service went away that same year. It was brought back in 2002, then indefinitely suspended again in 2010 along with paratransit for disabled Snohomish County residents.

Five long years went by before Community Transit brought back Sunday service.

The motor vehicle excise tax used to be a stable revenue source that transit agencies could count on. After the statewide MVET was eviscerated, transit agencies became heavily dependent on sales taxes. As anyone with a basic understanding of public finance knows, the sales tax yields less revenue during economic downturns. Downturns, however, are precisely when many people rely on public services the most.

Community Transit, Metro, Sound Transit, and other transit providers will be facing the same predicaments they’ve grappled with in the past as soon as another recession occurs. Sales tax funding will go down, and that will jeopardize essential service that people rely on.

This is one of the many long-term consequences of I-695 that Tim Eyman never wants to talk about. He may not ride the bus, but hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians do. To them, the prospect of not being able to get to their job on Sunday, or utilize paratransit service to participate in community functions, is very scary.

Tim Eyman can pretend the real and serious consequences of I-695 don’t exist, but neither we nor our elected representatives can afford to live in his fantasyland.

Washington is home to more than seven million people. By working together and pooling our resources, there is much we can accomplish. To move forward and raise our quality of life, it’s imperative that we reject Tim Eyman’s destructive agenda and reaffirm that we believe in the values that Washington was founded on. We call upon our elected representatives at all levels to work with us to undo the harm caused by Eyman’s past initiatives as well as defeat any new schemes that Eyman comes up with.

Fourteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its fourteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and sixty-eight months of continuous operation. Since going live on February 15th, 2002, Permanent Defense (PD) has been a fierce defender of Washington’s Constitution, common wealth, and vital public services, unceasingly organizing opposition to destructive initiatives proposed by Tim Eyman and other malicious actors.

Permanent Defense: Fourteen YearsPermanent Defense was born out of a realization that passivism (passive resistance) is a fatal response to right wing initiatives. We believe that only effective antidote to Tim Eyman’s toxic politics and destructive initiatives is relentless activism that informs, educates, and persuades the public to protect their public services by rejecting Eyman’s snake oil and voting against his schemes when they appear on the ballot. PD exists to provide such antidote, on a year-round basis, as the oldest project of the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI).

Today marks the conclusion of Permanent Defense’s fourteenth year and the beginning of its fifteenth. Last February, we were able to celebrate the first Eyman-free November in eight years. Unfortunately, as we anticipated might happen, Eyman was able to line up new wealthy benefactors to get the gears of his initiative factory turning again. With an ample supply of cash from real estate developers and hedge fund managers, Eyman was able to buy his way onto the ballot with I-1366, a clone of I-1325, which failed to qualify in 2014.

With the possible exception of I-1033 from 2009, I-1366 is perhaps the most destructive initiative Eyman has ever qualified for the ballot.

Seemingly inspired by the failed federal government shutdown of 2013 orchestrated by Ted Cruz, I-1366 threatened to wipe out $8 billion in funding for our public schools and other vital public services unless the Legislature capitulated to Tim Eyman’s demand to overturn the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision by April 15th, 2016. LEV is the Court’s landmark decision upholding Article II, Section 22 of our Constitution, which provides that all bills shall pass by majority vote of greater than fifty percent. That includes revenue bills, which Eyman has always wanted subjected to an undemocratic higher standard of two-thirds.

From the day we learned that Eyman was printing petitions for I-1366, we began organizing to defeat it. There was no point in waiting — it would have meant squandering valuable time. We spent the first half of 2015 in coalition-building mode, building an online presence for the coming NO campaign and working to secure commitments from individuals and organizations in opposition to I-1366.

Once I-1366 made it to the ballot, we shifted into mobilization mode.

We supported the lawsuit to have I-1366 removed from the ballot due to being outside the scope of the initiative process, which sadly was not successful.

We launched a political action committee with bipartisan leadership to fight I-1366, and worked cooperatively with our allies to craft a strong con voter’s pamphlet statement.

We conducted research to discern how to most effectively counter Eyman’s deceptive sales pitch for I-1366.

We raised funds and placed ads to educate voters. We helped brief editorial boards and city councils so they could take an informed NO position.

We regularly published analysis documenting the harm I-1366 would do here on Permanent Defense and on NPI’s sister project websites.

We did more than we have ever done to defeat a Tim Eyman initiative, and yet it wasn’t enough. We fell short of victory in November when I-1366 narrowly passed. The November 2015 general election ended up setting a new record as the election with the worst voter turnout since the state began registering voters in the 1930s.

To have worked so hard and to have come up short by such a small margin was disappointing. Regrettably, the NO coalition lacked the financial muscle it should have had, and much of the money that was raised materialized late, after voters had already started voting. We probably could have defeated I-1366 had our community as a whole been more engaged and better organized. NPI’s Permanent Defense certainly did its part.

Though we didn’t have much to work with, we were still able to defeat I-1366 in four counties (King, Jefferson, Thurston, and San Juan) and significantly narrow Eyman’s margin of victory statewide. Impressively, as the count went on, the NO vote rose from 57% to more than 61% in King County.

We vowed on Election Night to keep fighting, and we have. We’re proud that our state’s Democratic representatives and senators stayed unified and refused to capitulate to Eyman in the wake of the election. We strongly support the lawsuit filed by our friends Reuven Carlyle, David Frockt, Eden Mack, Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, Paul Bell, and the League of Women Voters of Washington to have I-1366 invalidated.

We’ve already had one victory in that legal challenge. It was a joyous day when King County Superior Court Judge William Downing struck down Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety as unconstitutional. Judge Downing agreed with all of our side’s arguments, finding that I-1366 was unconstitutional every way to Sunday.

Judge Downing’s decision has now been appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which will render a final verdict. Oral argument will be heard next month and a decision is expected sometime in the weeks to follow.

We believe we stand an excellent chance of winning on appeal, and we look forward to the day when we can add I-1366 to Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart.

At the same time we were organizing against I-1366, we kept on encouraging the Public Disclosure Commission to finish its long-delayed investigation into Tim Eyman’s willful violations of our state’s public disclosure law. Our efforts were rewarded in September of 2016 when PDC staff wrapped up their investigation and presented their findings to the Public Disclosure Commission, which unanimously voted to refer the case to Attorney General Bob Ferguson for prosecution.

We have long believed that Eyman was getting kickbacks from the paid signature gathering company he hires every year. Without being able to examine that firm’s books, we couldn’t prove it. But PDC staff were able to confirm that it was happening.

And the Commissioners, recognizing and appreciating the severity of Eyman’s offenses, deemed that a more comprehensive investigation was warranted. They asked Attorney General Ferguson to broaden the scope of the investigation to discern whether Eyman’s 2012 violations were part of a larger pattern.

This investigation is currently ongoing, and we hope it results in Tim Eyman being held accountable in a court of law.

In the meantime, we have an important success to celebrate: the opening of Sound Transit’s University Link light rail extension. U-Link is opening months ahead of schedule and under budget, thanks to outstanding project management by Sound Transit and the contractors it selected to build the project.

We would not be celebrating University Link’s grand opening this spring had Tim Eyman succeeded in his early 2000s campaign to destroy Sound Transit and prevent it from building the rail spine our region desperately needs and deserves. Fortunately, Eyman’s war on Sound Transit was a failure. ST survived, endured, and today is one of the highest-performing and most widely respected regional transit agencies in the country. The agency has delivered Central Link, Airport Link, and now University Link light rail, with the Angle Lake Link extension due this autumn.

In 2002, at the time Permanent Defense was founded, Sound Transit didn’t have many friends. It was under attack in the press, in the courts, and via initiative (thanks to Eyman). Permanent Defense stood with Sound Transit against those attacks, and made the defeat of Eyman’s I-776 its first priority.

Even after I-776 narrowly passed, we didn’t give up. We vowed to keep on fighting, and Sound Transit did likewise, managing to get I-776 partially invalidated in court and securing federal funding to break ground on Central Link.

Since that first campaign, we have fought numerous Eyman initiatives that tried to mess with Sound Transit and WSDOT in one way or another. Most of those schemes have been failures. But Eyman hasn’t given up. He resents our success and still wants to see Sound Transit destroyed. Eyman recently redeclared war on Sound Transit by announcing his intention to qualify I-1421 to the November 2016 statewide ballot. I-1421 seeks to repeal one of the funding sources the Legislature made available to Sound Transit for its Phase III (ST3) expansion package. It would also repeal billions of dollars in funding for Amtrak Cascades and freight mobility projects.

I-1421 must be defeated — and it can be, if it is effectively opposed. We will be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that it is.

Eyman has also threatened to qualify a second initiative to the November 2016 ballot. This one, intended as a sequel to I-1366, is an attempt to slap a one-year expiration date on any future revenue increase. It’s unconstitutional, of course, but Eyman doesn’t care.

Eyman already has $1.2 million in financing lined up to qualify these measures. Three-quarters of that sum came from his wealthy benefactors.

Eyman is already circulating petitions for I-1421, and will doubtless be printing up petitions for his other scheme by the time spring gets underway.

We can save ourselves and the state we love a lot of trouble in 2017 and beyond if we stop Eyman cold at the ballot this year. Though we appreciate the fine work of Paul Lawrence and the Pacifica Law Group legal team, it shouldn’t be necessary to have to go to court to get Eyman’s malicious schemes thrown out. These terrible initiatives shouldn’t be getting past the voters in the first place.

After our experience fighting I-1366 last year, we resolved to work more proactively to raise money on a year-round basis as well as organize. Permanent Defense’s parent organization NPI raises money year-round, but the vast majority of it goes to support NPI’s core mission along with NPI’s other projects and publications.

We came to the decision last year that to become more effective, Permanent Defense needed its own treasury. And so, we’ve given it one. Today, we are proud to announce the formation of Permanent Defense PAC, a continuing political action committee that will serve as a bulwark against Tim Eyman’s noxious initiative factory. Donations to Permanent Defense PAC will be used to ensure Eyman’s destructive initiatives are met with the vigorous opposition they deserve. You can contribute to Permanent Defense online or by mail (PO Box Redmond, WA 98073).

Here are three other ways you can help:

  • If you are not a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute, we urge you to become one. Members are the backbone of NPI’s supporter community, providing the time, talent, and treasure that makes NPI’s work possible.
  • If you see a petitioner collecting signatures for an Eyman measure like I-1421, we ask that you report your experience immediately so we can track Eyman’s signature drives.
  • And if you are free on the evening of April 1st, 2016, we encourage you to join us for NPI’s eighth Spring Fundraising Gala, where we will talk about our next steps for 2016 and beyond.

As I said last year, through perseverance and hard work, we have won many victories over the years. Tim Eyman may be relentless, but so are we. We don’t give in and we don’t give up, because our Constitution and our commonwealth need safeguarding.

We need this fighting spirit to be contagious. Join us in helping make it so.

Here’s to a great fifteenth year for Permanent Defense.

NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight Tim Eyman’s latest assault on Sound Transit, WSDOT

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This morning in Olympia, Tim Eyman announced his intention to try to qualify a second initiative for the 2016 ballot that would eviscerate state and local transportation funding by repealing vehicle fees. Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve attended Eyman’s press conference at the Secretary of State’s office and spoke against the measure afterwards, making clear that NPI is ready to build and work with a broad coalition to defeat Eyman’s I-1421.

“The campaign to defeat Tim Eyman’s I-1421 has already begun,” said Villeneuve. “We’re not waiting to get started, because we appreciate how high the stakes are. If Washington is to keep rolling, Sound Transit and WSDOT need the resources to build a twenty-first century, multimodal transportation system for our state.”

“Sound Transit needs to be able to deliver the regional light rail spine and express bus network that our population centers need and deserve, while WSDOT has to be able to replace crumbling roads and bridges, deploy new ferries, expand Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service, and enhance freight mobility. All of that costs money.”

“If we want broad prosperity and economic security, then we owe it to ourselves to build upon what previous generations of taxpayers made possible for us,” Villeneuve added. “None of us can afford these badly needed transportation improvements on our own. It is only by pooling our resources that we can make progress together.”

“Last year’s Connecting Washington transportation package is one of the very few things our divided Legislature has been able to get done. Now, Tim Eyman is trying to undo it. Unfortunately, this is what Eyman does. He’s a public menace. He has made it his business to attack our common wealth and undermine our plan of government.”

“Fourteen years ago, when I founded Permanent Defense and became involved in Washington politics, Tim Eyman was trying to dismantle Sound Transit and prevent Central Link, our first light rail line, from breaking ground. Today, in what could have passed as a media scrum from February 2002, Eyman made it clear he still hasn’t given up on his nefarious goal of destroying Sound Transit.”

“It’s evident that Eyman resents that under CEO Emeritus Joni Earl, Sound Transit has become one of our state’s most trusted, effective, and high-performing public agencies. People all over Puget Sound are clamoring for Link to be extended to their communities. They want choices for their commute. They don’t want to be forced to drive to get where they need to go. Since the opening of Central Link more than half a decade ago, Link has been a tremendous success.”

“And this year, it’s going to expand in two directions, to serve even more neighborhoods – from the University of Washington to Angle Lake.”

“We have always believed that Sound Transit could do great things if it was allowed to live up to its potential. Today, Sound Transit is firing on all cylinders, but incredibly, Eyman still wants to wreck it. Eyman and the wealthy benefactors funding him must be stopped. We have defeated Eyman before many times, and we are confident that we can do so again. It will take hard work and a lot of organizing, but we can do it.”

“My team at NPI has never been more enthusiastic and never been more resolved to halt Tim Eyman’s war on light rail and defeat his initiative factory than we are at this moment. We are ready to put fourteen years of Eyman-fighting experience to work against I-1421 and the other atrocious measure that Eyman has planned for this year. We’ll have more news to share about our next steps in the weeks to come.”

NPI/Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve files Majority Vote Protection Initiative

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

This morning, at the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia, Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve filed a new statewide initiative, titled the Majority Vote Protection Act. The intent of the initiative is to ensure that going forward, statewide initiatives and referenda only pass if an absolute majority of the state’s registered voters weigh in on them.

Additionally, the Majority Vote Protection Act stipulates that any initiative that attempts to impose any supermajority vote requirement on the Legislature (whether three-fifths, two-thirds, three-fourths, or some other threshold) must pass by the exact same supermajority of the voters, or else it will be declared failed.

“The team at the Northwest Progressive Institute is very excited about defending our Constitution’s balance of majority rule and minority rights with the Majority Vote Protection Act,” said NPI’s Villeneuve.

“This is the very first draft of this initiative, and we look forward to refining and improving it in response to the feedback we receive from our supporters, the public, and the press. We feel strongly that the time has come to change state law to ensure that our cherished tradition of majority rule is protected.”

“Our Constitution requires that bills in the Legislature pass by an absolute majority, but our minimum threshold for passage of initiatives and referenda is merely a majority of whoever turns out to vote. That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Under the lax rules of our current system, a small fraction of the state’s electorate can impose laws on everybody else in an election with poor turnout. That is precisely what’s happening right now with Tim Eyman’s hostage-taking I-1366.”

“As of this morning, turnout in Washington’s 2015 general election stands at a measly 38.28%, with almost no ballots left to count. This is the worst general election turnout since the state began permanent voter registration in the 1930s. A little more than half of the voters who participated in this year’s election voted for I-1366, while slightly less than half voted against I-1366. As Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd astutely pointed out in his column The Wrap earlier this month, this means that I-1366 has the support of less than twenty percent of the electorate.”

“A system of government that permits a few to make decisions for the many is not a true democracy,” Villeneuve said. “The first draft of our Majority Vote Protection Act would amend the statute governing the canvass of statewide ballot measures to require that all initiatives and referenda be voted on by at least an absolute majority of registered voters in order to be declared passed. It would also amend the same statute to stop the initiative process from being used to subvert majority rule by requiring that any initiative which contains some incarnation of a supermajority vote requirement to pass by its own supermajority vote requirement — or else be declared failed.”

NPI welcomes feedback on the Majority Vote Protection Act. Questions and comments pertaining to the new initiative draft may be submitted to NPI through Permanent Defense’s contact form.

Statement on Supreme Court’s ruling in Huff v. Wyman

In the CourtsStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Late this morning, the Supreme Court released its ruling in Huff v. Wyman, the preelection legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s I-1366, which sought I-1366’s removal from the November 2015 general election ballot on the basis that 1366 was beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power. The Court decided on September 4th, 2015, that plaintiffs, led by King County Elections Director Sherril Huff and Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, had not made the clear showing necessary for injunctive relief, but retained the case for a later ruling on the merits. That explanatory ruling was released today.

“We thank the Supreme Court for the timely decision it released today explaining why it did not grant an injunction removing Tim Eyman’s I-1366 from the ballot last summer,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman’s initiatives since February of 2002.

“We agree with King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum that the fundamental and overriding purpose of I-1366 is to coerce the Legislature, and particularly Democratic lawmakers, into invoking the constitutional amendment process spelled out in Article XXIII, something that an initiative simply cannot do.”

“Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court did not definitively answer the question of whether I-1366 is beyond the scope of the initiative power. We believe this is a question that needs to be answered, and we hope it will be addressed in the forthcoming postelection legal challenge. As we said on Election Night, we remain committed to defeating this incredibly destructive hostage-taking initiative, so that our state’s public services and tradition of majority rule are protected. We will be fully supporting the new challenge to I-1366 that will be filed in the days to come. We urge the courts to swiftly take up this matter and uphold our state Constitution by striking down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety.”

Opposition to Eyman’s I-1366 surpasses 60% in King County

Election PostmortemStatements & Advisories

Opposition to Tim Eyman’s I-1366 crossed the sixty percent threshold today in King County after Elections released its 3:58:14 PM report, reaching 60.59%. This is the third consecutive day that the share of the vote against I-1366 in Martin Luther King Jr. County has significantly increased; on Election Night, the NO vote was 57.54%.

Northwest Progressive Institute/Permanent Defense founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve made the following statement following the release of King County Elections’ Friday, November 6th count.

“All of us at the Northwest Progressive Institute would like to express our gratitude to the people of King County for voting so overwhelmingly against Tim Eyman’s awful, hostage-taking I-1366,” said Villeneuve. “While we are not winning statewide, to be prevailing so decisively in King County is a blessing. We are also grateful to voters in Thurston, San Juan, and Jefferson counties for recognizing that I-1366 is bad public policy, and for likewise rejecting the militant, destructive politics of hostage-taking.”

“This morning, Tim Eyman had the audacity to attack The Olympian for its praise of King and Thurston voters’ decision, quoting from the editorial and then sneering to his followers, ‘Not enough father-knows-best condescension for you?’ He also falsely assailed us, his opponents, as contemptous of voters.”

“If Eyman wants to talk about contempt, why don’t we talk about his contempt… for our Constitution, for our system of government, for our elected representatives, and anyone who disagrees with him.”

“Tim Eyman may be in a gloating mood, but we stand resolutely prepared to continue the fight against I-1366 and any other bad ideas he comes up with in the months to come. Eyman is sorely mistaken if he thinks we regard what is happening in this election as anything more than a setback. We are committed to maintaining a permanent defense against his schemes to wreck our government, as well as going on offense to raise Washington’s quality of life.”

“As the Supreme Court has ruled, we are badly underfunding public education. I-1366 would make an already grave problem much, much worse. It must not stand. We urge the Supreme Court to strike it down without delay and uphold our Constitution.”

“Tim Eyman loves to talk about the wisdom and the will of the voters, but he disregards the voters’ will when the people of Washington do not vote in accordance with his wishes. He operates by a double standard.”

“It is worth noting that most of Washington’s nearly four million voters did not even participate in this election. They stayed home. Of the few who turned out, only a narrow majority are approving I-1366. An increasingly large minority are saying NO, including a supermajority (three-fifths) of voters in King County.”

“It’s no secret that Eyman doesn’t take repudiation well. We have no doubt his losses in King, Thurston, San Juan, and Jefferson counties have left him very annoyed, because he can no longer claim that Seattle is the only place where there is a majority opposed to sabotaging Washington’s cherished tradition of legislative majority rule.”

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