Today, Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that disgraced initiative promoter turned gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman has been ordered by Chief Judge Marc Barrecca of the United States Bankruptcy Court to begin paying the penalties he has been racking up in the state’s long-running campaign finance enforcement lawsuit against him.
Eyman must pay $278,137.93 immediately and then must make substantial monthly payments until he has satisfied his obligations. The order covers what he already owes to the people of the State of Washington, plus any future judgments. Eyman shall be eligible for a one percent interest rate as long as he pays on time. If he doesn’t, then the interest rate increases to twelve percent for the remaining amount.
“Tim Eyman has been evading responsibility and accountability for his lawbreaking for an extremely long time,” said Villeneuve.
“The citizen complaint that precipitated this lawsuit was originally filed in the summer of 2012… almost eight years ago. And let’s remember that it was a citizen complaint that started all of this. That complaint was originally filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, which then turned the matter over to the Attorney General’s office.”
“At every stage of the investigation and subsequent court action, Tim Eyman has been uncooperative. His repeated refusals to turn over documents and records needed to bring the truth to light has caused this case to drag on for a very long time. And while he may have reaped a short term payoff from his stonewalling in the extreme legal defense strategy, it is not going to work over the long-term, as today’s decision shows.”
“Our team at NPI is very pleased that the Attorney General’s office has concluded that Tim Eyman’s violations of our public disclosure laws were intentional and will be seeking triple penalties,” said Villeneuve. “Tim Eyman must be made to pay a steep price for operating above the law for so long. Today, we saw real progress towards the important goal of holding Eyman accountable. That’s great news to get in bad times.”
In addition to heading the Northwest Progressive Institute, Villeneuve is a boardmember of Washingtonians For Ethical Government (WFEG) a group that works to ensure Washington’s campaign finance laws are upheld and enforced. Fellow WFEG director Sherry Bockwinkel filed the aforementioned complaint with the PDC that was ultimately referred to the Attorney General for prosecution.
This afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson ruled that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 would remain on ice for the time being, granting a motion by the plaintiffs who have challenged its constitutionality to keep an injunction in place that bars its implementation. I-976 seeks to eliminate billions of dollars in funding for essential transportation needs at the state, regional, and local levels; it passed last November and was immediately subjected to a legal challenge.
Judge Ferguson’s order preserves the status quo while the case progresses in the Washington State Supreme Court. The parties in the case have asked the Court to decide the fate of the preliminary injunction, which was initially issued by Judge Ferguson the day before Thanksgiving last year. The Supreme Court has already upheld the injunction once. Now plaintiffs are asking that it be kept in place until the legal challenge is resolved. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, on the other hand, has asked that the injunction be lifted.
Earlier this week, in a Tuesday email, Tim Eyman falsely told his followers and the press that I-976 would be going into effect today (Friday).
“HUGE VICTORY,” Eyman’s subject line declared. “Judge Ferguson signs Final Judgment Order three days early, I-976 takes effect on Friday.”
Of course, that was a lie. The aforementioned order concerned the disposition of the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims and did not concern the preliminary injunction.
But today’s order does. Judge Marshall Ferguson wrote that it is “ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion is GRANTED. The date to lift the preliminary injunction entered in this matter on November 27, 2019 is continued from March 27, 2020 until such date when the Washington Supreme Court rules on Plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Review.”
Consequently, I-976 will not be going into effect today as Eyman claimed.
Unusually, Eyman tacitly admitted that his statement about I-976 going into effect was a fabrication in the very same email that he sent out on Tuesday.
Buried in the email, above Eyman’s signature line, was the following:
“To be clear: On behalf of taxpayers, I can’t declare victory yet, but it’s looking good that anxious citizens will get some needed tax relief very soon,” Eyman conceded.
Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve thanked media outlets for not picking up on Eyman’s lie and thereby misinforming more Washingtonians about the status of the case.
“These are difficult times and people need accurate, reliable information,” said Villeneuve. “A public health crisis like this coronavirus pandemic reminds us how important the truth is and how important science is. Sadly, Tim Eyman doesn’t care about truth or science. He wants so badly for I-976 to be implemented that he keeps publicly pretending that it has gone into effect… or imminently will.”
“However, I-976 remains on ice. The Supreme Court will have the final word on I-976’s constitutionality, as it always does in a case like this. Like Judge Ferguson, the justices are aware that if the injunction were to be lifted but the initiative later found unconstitutional, the people’s public services would be irreparably harmed.”
“We hope and expect that the Court will keep the injunction in place until it reaches a final decision with respect to Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims.”
The case is Garfield County Transportation Authority et al vs. State of Washington et al, 19-2-30171-6 SEA.
Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its eighteenth anniversary, marking one two hundred and sixteen months of continuous operation.
The events of the past twelve months have served as a reminder of how important and essential Permanent Defense’s work is.
After a multi-year stretch with almost no right wing measures on the statewide ballot, we faced an election in which there were two (Initiative 976 and Referendum 88) in yet another odd-numbered year with poor turnout.
We did not realize our 2019 electoral goals, but our work goes on. The results of last November’s election were a setback, but not the end of the story. We refuse to lose.
We simply can’t afford the destructive cuts to multimodal transportation infrastructure that would result from the implementation of Tim Eyman’s I-976, nor can we allow Eyman’s Initiative 200 to remain in place for another two decades.
2019 also reminded us how tough it is to wage campaigns when the opposition has a stacked deck working in their favor. Going forward, we must end abusive practices like ballot title shopping that make it laughably easy for scammers like Eyman to perpetrate their cons. And we must eliminate Eyman’s taxpayer-funded propaganda from the ballot.
Even though the 2019 ballot was rigged against us with deceptive, poorly written ballot titles and propaganda, we went all in to defeat Initiative 976 and save Initiative 1000.
And we have no regrets about that. Our communities are worth defending from bad ballot measures. Even in an electoral landscape rigged against us, taking a stand for the values our state was founded upon was the just and moral thing to do.
I have no doubt that were it not for the work of NPI’s Permanent Defense project and Keep Washington Rolling/Washington Fairness Coalition partners, the outcomes of both initiatives would have been very lopsided in favor of the right wing. By taking a stand, we brought down the opposition’s margin of victory significantly.
During the past twelve months, in addition to opposing I-976, we also opposed three other Tim Eyman ballot measures that all failed to qualify:
and Initiative 1082.
Referendum 80 sought to nullify a set of pay increases approved by Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials, while Initiatives 1608 and 1082 were attempts to repeal modest revenue reforms adopted by the Legislature in the 2019 long session. All three measures died after their signature drives ended in failure.
Were it not for our work to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his lying, cheating, and stealing, Eyman might have been able to line up one or more wealthy benefactors to put money behind those measures, like he has in years past. But he wasn’t able to.
All the while, Eyman was racking up fines in Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s long-running campaign finance enforcement case against him due to his continuing and willful violations of court orders, which have landed him in contempt.
We wish the Attorney General’s office well in their determined and sorely needed efforts to hold Eyman accountable. This summer, the case against Eyman is scheduled to go to trial, and we will be following the proceedings with great interest.
Even in difficult times and difficult circumstances, there are bright spots. I’m very proud of the groundbreaking initiatives Permanent Defense undertook in support of Initiative 1000 and against Initiative 976 in 2019. They made a difference and demonstrated what can be accomplished with imaginative advocacy.
Enjoy the following chronology of my favorite moments from our eighteenth year.
Eyman abandons Referendum 80
April 12th, 2019
Often his own worst enemy, Eyman made an incorrect assumption when proceeding with plans for a signature drive in support of a measure aimed at nullifying the 2020 salary schedule approved by the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials in early 2019. As a consequence, all of the work he put into Referendum 80 was for naught, and he abandoned the measure in disgust rather than start over.
Eyman’s I-1648 crashes and burns
July 5th, 2019
With representatives of the Northwest Progressive Institute watching (and photographing!), Tim Eyman was forced to admit that his frantic efforts to qualify a measure to the November 2019 ballot with the muscle of a reactionary, pro-secession group called “Liberty State” had ended in failure.
Lynnwood Link groundbreaking
September 3rd, 2019
Just after Labor Day, Sound Transit broke ground on Lynnwood Link, an extension of the agency’s regional light rail network, which will bring light rail close to Eyman’s old stomping grounds of Mukilteo (he is now a resident of Bellevue in the heart of King County). Preventing Eyman from interfering with Sound Transit’s efforts to build Link was the objective of the first campaign that Permanent Defense undertook in 2002.
Every groundbreaking and every station opening gets our region closer to a future where people have the freedom to safely and reliably get around without a car.
Eyman ordered to report personal income as campaign contributions by Judge Dixon
September 13th, 2019
Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s motion to impose additional sanctions on Eyman, who has consistently tried to evade accountability for his violations of Washington’s public disclosure law through a legal defense strategy dubbed by NPI as “stonewalling in the extreme”.
Never before has the destructive impact of a Tim Eyman initiative been visualized as elegantly and powerfully as it was with our NO on I-976 Impact Map, designed by the talented Oran Viyancy. We rolled out the map at press events in Auburn and Seattle, and it was seen by hundreds of thousands of people on the web or on the local news.
We developed two ads for Spanish language radio outlets urging a NO vote on Tim Eyman’s transit-destroying Initiative 976 and an APPROVED vote on Initiative 1000, the Washington Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act. Although not all voters speak English or use it as their first language, very few campaigns make any effort to create materials in languages other than English. We made the effort.
Just before Thanksgiving, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson put Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-976 on ice with an injunction barring it from taking effect on December 5th — a decision that was subsequently upheld by the the State Supreme Court a few days later, and a decision that kept funding for transportation improvements flowing to over sixty cities throughout Washington.
Eyman fails to qualify I-1082
January 3rd, 2020
As 2020 began, the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the 2020 Legislature came and went without an appearance by Eyman at the Secretary of State’s office. The death of Initiative 1082 went entirely unmentioned by Eyman, who had ceased using the doomed measure as a fundraising gimmick several weeks prior.
The last few years have been littered with setbacks and defeats for disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman. From 2016-2018, Eyman failed to qualify anything to Washington’s general election ballot despite half a dozen attempts.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office has been working tirelessly to hold Eyman accountable for his willful and blatant violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws, dealing Eyman loss after loss in court.
Eyman is counting on an electoral victory in November to revive the fortunes of his flailing initiative factory. He has declared that his Initiative 976, a measure that would gut $4.2 billion in transportation funding over the next six years, will pass overwhelmingly in all thirty-nine of Washington’s counties and even pass in Seattle, which has consistently rejected his destructive schemes for twenty years.
If we look at what Eyman has said in response to questions about I-976’s fiscal impacts, though, we can see Eyman’s not confident about winning in November. Why else would Eyman feel the need to lie about the extent of the damage that his measure would cause?
The whoppers Eyman has been telling about I-976 deserve to be called out and debunked.
Let’s start with a claim he made a month ago on KIRO Newsradio: that I-976 would only rob Sound Transit of “a small percentage of money”.
THE REALITY: Wrong. Implementation of Tim Eyman’s I-976 would leave in ruins plans to deliver light rail expansion to Everett, Tacoma, Ballard, West Seattle, and Kirkland/Issaquah, as well as deploy bus rapid transit on Interstate 405 and expand Sounder commuter rail to DuPont and Tillicum. That’s because Sound Transit would lose an essential major revenue source, which would in turn severely impair its ability to borrow money, jeopardizing an estimated $20 billion in funding overall.
This is not an accident; it’s by design.
Tim Eyman is well aware that the loss of Sound Transit’s motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) revenue would blow a giant hole in Sound Transit 3. He’s counting on it: his goal is to sabotage Sound Transit 3’s voter approved projects so they don’t get built.
He’s previously admitted his true intentions to friendly audiences.
In 2016, when Eyman was trying to qualify a measure almost identical to I-976, he pitched it as the “NO on ST3” campaign in an address to the Eastside Republican Club in Bellevue, on March 1st, 2016. Said Eyman in his remarks:
I love the idea of every voter in the state being able to register their vehicle for a flat-rate, easy to understand $30, but what gets me giddy is the idea of ripping the heart out of Sound Transit. This agency is so unaccountable, so rogue, so completely devoid of any reality that this is our one chance to be able to gut them like a pig, and that’s what I really love about this initiative.
Emphasis is ours. Listen to the audio here.
The next time Eyman tries to dismiss the impact of I-976 as giving Sound Transit “a haircut”, just remember that we have Tim Eyman on tape saying that the primary objective of doing a new initiative to cap vehicle fees at thirty dollars is to rip the heart out of Sound Transit and gut the agency like a pig.
That’s a far cry from “a haircut”. Eyman’s August 16th statement is compelling evidence that he’s worried that if voters know the truth about the damage I-976 would cause, they’ll decide to fill in the oval next to NO on the ballot.
Despite the confidence he projects, Eyman is clearly nervous about losing this campaign. That’s why he is lying to the public about the destruction I-976 would cause when he does interviews with the press.
Dixon ruled that contributions Eyman has previously received as personal ‘gifts’ qualify as campaign contributions and affirmed that Eyman remains in contempt because he has failed to comply with the Court’s discovery orders.
Dixon also awarded the state attorney’s fees.
Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve called the ruling a significant development in the case that brings Eyman closer to his day of reckoning.
“The barricades that Tim Eyman has thrown up to shield himself from accountability are crumbling,” said Villeneuve.
“For years, Tim has tried to pretend that the fundraising he does for himself is separate from the fundraising he does for his initiative committees. But that is a fiction. The truth is that money given to benefit Tim Eyman benefits his initiative factory, and money given to whichever scam Eyman happens to be hawking at the moment benefits Eyman.”
“Just look at how I-976, Eyman’s latest initiative, got onto the ballot. The lion’s share of the money that paid for signature gathering came from Eyman himself; Eyman claimed he cashed out his and his wife’s retirement fund in order to make the signature drive a reality. The PDC reports for I-976 make it look like Eyman is his own biggest donor. Except he’s really not, because he doesn’t have a way of supporting himself without the continuing generosity of wealthy supporters like Kemper Freeman, Jr., who stated in a deposition that he wanted to make sure Eyman had enough ‘grocery money.'”
“There is simply no separation between Eyman’s personal and political funds anymore because he has mixed them so thoroughly.”
“It is entirely appropriate that Judge Dixon has found that the ‘gifts’ Eyman has been soliciting are really campaign contributions and are subject to public disclosure. If Eyman won’t comply and file the requisite reports, he’ll find himself in even more trouble.”
As expected, the right wing has succeeded in forcing a vote on Washington’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act (Initiative 1000). Adopted by the Legislature on April 28th, 2019, I-1000 would empower state agencies and institutions of higher learning to conduct outreach to disadvantaged populations and underrepresented constituencies.
After the conclusion of session, the right wing mobilized to mount a referendum campaign against Initiative 1000, using a bevy of lies to convince voters to sign their petitions. The campaign began turning in its signatures several days prior to the deadline.
“Sponsors had ninety days to collect at least 129,811 signatures of Washington registered voters. 213,268 signatures were submitted during the week leading up to the July 27th deadline,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office said in a news release. “The Office of the Secretary of State verified that R-88 had been signed by enough registered voters to meet constitutional requirements to make the November ballot.”
Referendum 88 is the second right wing measure to qualify for the November 2019 ballot, following Tim Eyman’s I-976. Twelve Eyman push polls will also be on the ballot, but unlike R-88 and I-976, they are not binding.
If R-88 is approved, Initiative 1000 will remain in place and go into effect as intended by the Legislature. If I-1000 is rejected, it will be repealed.
NPI is working with business, labor, and civic groups to build a strong coalition to Approve Referendum 88 and uphold Initiative 1000 this autumn.
We believe Washington’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act is worth defending, and we’re committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to cast an informed vote on Referendum 88 this autumn.
Equations. They’re an essential element of mathematics: statements that assert the equality of multiple expressions.
There are two sides to every equation, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the materials that Tim Eyman sends out about the initiatives that he sponsors.
For example, consider the “info sheet” that Eyman distributed today for Initiative 976. It contains no discussion about what the people of Washington stand to lose if Eyman’s latest measure is adopted. There isn’t even a passing acknowledgment that the initiative could result in the cancellation of countless projects to improve mobility plus cutbacks to existing services.
Amtrak Cascades, a regional intercity rail service that provides Washington’s only rail link with British Columbia
Road and sidewalk maintenance in sixty cities, including road resurfacing
King Country Metro bus service funded by Seattle taxpayers
Essential freight mobility projects needed to ensure the smooth movement of goods
Sound Transit system expansion (ST3), including light rail, commuter rail, express bus, and bus rapid transit projects
Eyman is fully aware that services like Amtrak Cascades rely upon vehicle fees for funding and that the Washington State Constitution prohibits the use of taxes on fuel for non-highway purposes.
Eyman is lying when he suggests the funding for these projects and services could simply come from somewhere else. Where’s that $4+ billion supposed to come from? Money for the essential services our economy requires doesn’t grow on trees. It comes from taxes. Taxes are investments… essential investments. It is not possible to repeal billions in revenue and suffer no consequences. There are always consequences. This is basic math!
Many communities lost funding against their will. For example, people in King County voted against both I-695 and I-776.
If I-976 is implemented, then there will be cuts to already-approved projects and services. These would be significant cuts that would be noticeable and widely felt. Cuts that increase traffic, make our tax code more unfair, and saddle us with costs we don’t need or want. For example, Everett and Tacoma could lose their planned light rail stations because it’s unlikely there would be sufficient funds to build them.
That’s the other side of the vehicle fee equation… the side Eyman doesn’t want you to ever talk about, but which you have a duty and obligation to cover so that Washingtonians can make an informed decision on I-976.
The truth is, Washingtonians and their elected representatives have voted repeatedly to fund multimodal transportation infrastructure.
(“Multimodal” refers to the concept of enabling people to get around through different modes, whether that’s walking, biking, taking the bus, taking the train, vanpooling, or using a scooter, as opposed to merely driving alone.)
Eyman is ideologically opposed to investing in any kind of transportation infrastructure that does not subsidize automobile travel… and in particular, single occupancy vehicle travel. (High occupancy vehicle lanes are part of our highway system, but Eyman opposes those because you can’t drive alone in them during peak hours, at least not without paying a toll, something else Eyman is opposed to.)
How do we know this? Because Eyman has previously sponsored initiatives to redirect money from mass transit to roads (I-745 in 2000), open high occupancy vehicle lanes to everyone during all but a few hours of the day (I-985, 2008) and prohibit variable tolling (I-1125, 2011). Washington voters rejected all three of those initiatives.
Sadly, Tim Eyman doesn’t care. He is just as determined now to undermine and destroy multimodal infrastructure as he was twenty years ago.
Eyman also doesn’t care that voters in Puget Sound voted repeatedly to expand light rail, commuter rail, express bus, and bus rapid transit projects by approving Sound Move in 1996, Sound Transit 2 in 2008, and Sound Transit 3 in 2016.
The outcome didn’t go his way, so he considers the will of the voters irrelevant. Meaningless. Not even worth acknowledging.
It is vital that voters understand both sides of the equation — not just Eyman’s side — before they return their ballots. So make sure when you’re covering I-976 to talk about the impacts. In detail. I-976 would wreak havoc in every part of the state, so no matter where your audience is, there’s a local angle (perhaps several!) to explore.
A right wing effort to overturn the Washington State Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act (Initiative 1000) by referendum appears to have succeeded in collecting the necessary signatures to force a statewide vote this autumn. Backers of Referendum 88 today submitted what they said were almost 177,000 signatures and plan to turn in another 20,000 more by Saturday at 5 PM, which is the deadline for submitting signatures.
To be certified, petitions for a referendum like R-88 must contain the signatures of at least 129,811 registered voters. As set forth in the Constitution, the minimum number of valid signatures required for a referendum is equivalent to four percent of the number of Washingtonians who participated in the last election for governor.
NPI’s Permanent Defense has been monitoring the R-88 signature drive for the past several weeks and expected today’s developments.
Many people who were approached to sign a Referendum 88 petition reported to NPI that the petitioner told them R-88 was a measure to help veterans, or to make affirmative action legal. The truth is just the opposite. Backers of R-88 want to overturn I-1000, a legislatively adopted initiative that prohibits discrimination against veterans and allows state agencies to help disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups. It appears that a significant number of signatures for R-88 were obtained under false pretenses.
To keep I-1000 the law of the land, a majority of voters in Washington must vote Approved on Referendum 88 this autumn.
NPI is working with business, labor, and civic groups to build a strong coalition to Approve Referendum 88. Below is the press release we published today in response to the submission of signatures for this measure.
This afternoon, Tim Eyman’s massively hyped, “unprecedented” effort to qualify an initiative to the November ballot to wipe out the Legislature’s 2019 revenue reforms imploded in spectacular fashion when the signatures Eyman was clamoring for from his followers failed to materialize.
As a consequence, I-1648 will not go before voters this autumn.
I-1648 sought to repeal all of the revenue reforms enacted by the Legislature this past session and slap a one-year expiration date on any future revenue reforms not subjected to a public vote. The measure would have jeopardized billions of dollars over the next four years for essential public services throughout Washington State, cutting taxes for big banks and oil companies in the process.
Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for over seventeen years, called the demise of I-1648 welcome news. I-1648’s implosion will keep Washington’s budget whole, preventing unexpected cuts to education, healthcare, environmental protection, and human services.
“More than seven million people depend on the essential public services funded by our state budget,” said Villeneuve. “Tim Eyman’s I-1648 would have put the progress we’ve made on progressive tax reform this year at risk. Thankfully, because Eyman and his cohorts were unable to gather sufficient signatures, I-1648 is no longer a danger to our communities.”
“Had I-1648 qualified for the ballot, it would have represented a grave threat to our schools, access to college, forest health and firefighting, sorely needed investments in behavioral health, the removal of barriers to fish passage, and the cleanup of polluted waterways.”
“Our elected representatives are required to produce a budget that goes out four years, not just two. They worked hard to craft a budget that takes into account the needs of Washington’s growing population. Although that budget only contained modest revenue reforms, Tim Eyman nevertheless professed himself to be enraged, and set about trying to overturn the will of the people that the voters chose to write a budget for our state.”
“Happily, he has failed, and I-1648 is dead. It will be a pleasure to add a new entry to Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart today.”
Ever the con man, Eyman tried to will success into existence through bluster and hyberbole, in an effort reminiscent of his disastrous attempt to subject LGBTQ+ rights to a vote in 2006. It didn’t work, as those who were on hand today to watch Eyman fail in person got to see for themselves.
Eyman and his followers did not even collect the minimum number of signatures required by the Constitution, which means none of their petitions will be counted or processed.
(The Secretary of State only accepts submissions of signatures that are beyond the minimum number required, currently 259,622. Sponsors are advised to obtain a cushion of signatures equivalent to 25% of the minimum required to offset duplicate and invalid signatures.)
Eyman already has an initiative on the ballot for November — I-976, which would wipe out billions in bipartisan transportation investments at the state, regional, and local levels. The Keep Washington Rolling coalition, of which NPI is a member, is working hard to build a strong NO campaign to defeat I-976. Learn more at no976.org.
Over the past four years, while doing his best to stonewall Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation into his egregious violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws, Tim Eyman has attempted to qualify nearly half a dozen initiatives to the ballot.
Each time, with the sole exception of I-976 (which is on the November 2019 ballot), Eyman’s petition drives have ended in failure, because he didn’t have the money to purchase the signatures necessary to force a public vote on his bad ideas.
There was I-1421, I-869, and I-947, the three failed precursors to Initiative 976.
In between I-869 and I-947, there was I-1550, a failed scheme to gut property taxes.
And before those four, at the end of 2015, there was a initiative concept announced by Eyman and his associates Mike and Jack Fagan with an ice cream social in Governor Jay Inslee’s office. Eyman printed up prop petitions for that measure to use at his press conference, but then failed to actually launch a signature drive following the new year.
That initiative concept from almost four years ago is the basis for I-1648.
As with I-1648, each of the aforementioned fakes was unveiled and trumpeted by Eyman with all the fanfare he could muster through email blasts, social media postings, and right wing talk radio appearances. And each went nowhere, because Eyman simply does not have the network of support necessary to qualify anything to the ballot with just volunteer labor.
I-976 is Eyman’s first real initiative in years. It’s already on the ballot — Eyman claims he cashed out his retirement in order to finance the signature drive, although documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court suggest Eyman didn’t entirely empty his retirement fund to qualify the measure — but rather than focus on trying to sell it to voters, Eyman has decided to make another run at getting a second scheme on the November ballot.
Eyman’s initial plan to double up on the November 2019 ballot was to qualify Referendum 80, an attempt to void the new salary schedule for legislators and statewide elected officials adopted by the Washington Citizens Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials.
But he botched that effort and it imploded a few weeks ago.
Now Eyman is trying to resurrect the scheme he came up with a few years ago to follow his hostage-taking Initiative 1366, which would force any revenue reform agreed to by the Legislature to expire after one year unless approved at the ballot.
Initiative 1648 also seeks to repeal all of the modest revenue reforms just enacted by the House and Senate as part of the recently-concluded regular session of the Washington State Legislature. Since it’s trying to do two different things, it probably violates the Washington State Constitution’s single subject rule.
Because Eyman is aiming for the 2019 ballot, he is operating on a tight timeframe. He has less than two months to collect 330,000 signatures.
We can’t find any evidence that Eyman has found a wealthy benefactor to underwrite the signature drive for I-1648. And Eyman would need a wealthy benefactor to make this initiative go. Therefore, at this time, we assess that I-1648 is another one of Eyman’s fakes — a scam designed to part rank and file Republicans from their money.
If I-1648 becomes a credible threat, we’ll immediately begin organizing opposition to it.
Permanent Defense works to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State — like Tim Eyman's initiative factory. Learn more.
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