Tag Archives: Eyman Helps Himself

Oh, the hypocrisy: Well paid politician Tim Eyman doesn’t want our elected representatives to get pay raises

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

It’s hard to think of a politician who more powerfully epitomizes the word shameless than Tim Eyman, especially when it comes to matters of dollars and cents.

The fifty-two year old has been a full time politician for almost twenty years and is so obsessed with profiting from politics that he has orchestrated illegal schemes to steer more of his donors’ money into his own pockets without their knowledge.

But while Eyman loves helping himself to his donors’ money, he doesn’t think our elected representatives’ pay should be increased, declaring this week that he wants to subject the salary increases proposed by the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials to a statewide referendum and overturned.

Eyman’s mantra is “Give Them Nothing”, which implies our elected representatives shouldn’t be paid anything at all, let alone the increases the Commission has proposed.

“At NPI, we’ve lost track of how many times we’ve heard Republican candidates and right wingers like Eyman insist that government should be run like a business,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to destructive Eyman schemes for nearly seventeen years.

“It sure is a frequent refrain in their discourse. In the private sector, though, compensation is considered very important to the recruitment and retention of high caliber candidates for executive positions. If right wing Republicans like Eyman really want government run like a business, shouldn’t they be willing to pay top dollar to attract the very best people to serve in our Legislature, judiciary, and executive department? How do you get competent government if your mantra is ‘Give Them Nothing’?”

Eyman has some nerve railing against pay increases for politicians considering his own long-running obsession with profiting from politics.

Seventeen years ago, Eyman famously professed to be working on initiative campaigns for free, when he was in reality transferring large sums of money out of his campaign committees to pay himself, and then lying about it.

Northwest Passage Consulting principal Christian Sinderman and others suspected what Eyman was up to, and in early 2002, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an investigate report about Eyman’s suspicious money transfers. Eyman continued to deny what he’d done until his guilty conscience caught up with him. He called up The Associated Press’ David Ammons and confessed, saying “it was the biggest lie of my life”.

“The fact is, it is true that I made money in past campaigns and planned to make money on future campaigns,” Eyman told Ammons in a rambling confession. “This entire charade was set up so I could maintain a moral superiority over our opposition, so I could say our opponents make money from politics and I don’t.”

“I want to continue to advocate issues and I want to make a lot of money doing it,” Eyman added. Seventeen years later, it’s quite apparent that this particular statement is one of the few Eyman has made that can be called entirely truthful.

After he was caught lying in 2002, Eyman began openly paying himself a salary out of campaign funds and also raising money for what he called his “compensation fund”.

But that was not enough.

The ever-greedy Eyman concocted a scheme with one of his vendors to receive kickbacks from them that were not reported to the Public Disclosure Commission. Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office is trying to get to the bottom of this concealment scheme, but has been stymied by Eyman’s refusal to cooperate. Eyman remains in contempt of court and on the hook for $500 daily fines for refusing to turn over records in the case.

The Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials has a constitutional obligation to examine the salaries of our elected officials and propose adjustments to those salaries. Created by a vote of the people in 1986, it is one of the few commissions of its kind. Its salary changes can be overturned by referendum as provided for in Article XXVIII of the Washington State Constitution, but the pay increases the Commission has proposed for 2019-2020 are entirely reasonable.

“I have yet to hear Cougar alum Tim Eyman complain about how much Washington State University is paying Mike Leach to coach their football team,” said Villeneuve, who noted that Leach and UW head football coach Chris Petersen make far more than anyone serving the people of Washington in the statehouse.

Leach is set to make $3.5 million alone this season… more than the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Commissioner of Public Lands, Insurance Commissioner, and Superintendent of Public Instruction combined. Petersen is making even more than Leach; he took home $4.125 million last season. The Huskies and Cougars each have many additional coaches who make more than what anyone serving in the statehouse makes.

Villeneuve noted that while statewide elected officials’ pay is enough to support a family on, Washington’s legislators are not well compensated for the jobs that they do.

“Most of our lawmakers currently receive a salary of $48,731,” Villeneuve pointed out. (Certain lawmakers receive higher salaries due to holding leadership positions.) This is below the 2014 median income of a Washington State household, which is $61,366.

“We, the people of Washington, are paying our lawmakers a part time salary while expecting them to do full-time work,” Villeneuve said.

“The Legislature may not be in session year-round, but being a well-informed lawmaker is nevertheless a full-time job. There is no ‘off season’ for lawmakers. When one session ends, the preparation for the next session begins. Lawmakers meet with constituents, conduct research, attend committee days, participate in work sessions, and go on fact finding trips during the months they aren’t in session.”

“These salary increases are overdue and entirely justified,” said Villeneuve. “For 2019, the Commission is proposing a base increase in legislator pay to $53,024, to be followed by another increase in 2020 to $57,425. These are good first steps, but we should be increasing legislator pay to an even greater extent to encourage more Washingtonians to consider running for office. Right now, legislative service simply isn’t a realistic option for many people because it doesn’t pay enough to raise a family on.”

“I believe we would get a Legislature that looks more like our diverse state if we provided a more appropriate level of compensation for our legislators. If red state Alaska can afford to pay their legislators a higher salary — and they do — then we certainly can, too.”

In the event Eyman or anyone else is serious about mounting a referendum campaign to overturn the Commission’s salary adjustments, which are entirely reasonable, NPI will work with other organizations to develop a campaign to educate the public about the need for appropriately-compensated elected officials.

FURTHER READING: How Much Should State Legislators Get Paid? by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux for FiveThirtyEight

Eyman uses sunshine laws to invade privacy of NEA’s Charles Hasse

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

In response to Tim Eyman’s continued attacks on the National Education Association’s Charles Hasse, we’d like to point out that there is nothing “despicable” about making a public records request, as Tim Eyman claims… and he should know better, for he does it all the time. Transparency and openness in government, and in the political process, are critical to the well-being of a democracy. That’s why we have sunshine laws and a Freedom of Information Act.

Tim Eyman claims to be all for openness and transparency in the political process, but as far as his own campaigns are concerned, secrecy is the name of the game.

He wants to have it both ways.

Eyman is against any reforms that would strengthen the spirit and integrity of the initiative process. He has a history of routinely failing to file reports on time with the Public Disclosure Commission.

He concealed, for months, the fact that he was pocketing hundreds of thousands of contributions from his supporters for his own use. He explicitly lied about it.

And remember that Referendum 65, er, Initiative 917 press conference on June 5th, 2006, where his buddy Mike Fagan gleefully declared to the media, “Feel like you’ve been duped this morning? Well you have.”

Now Eyman & Co. are outraged that somebody who works for the National Education Association would ask for the names and addresses of people who signed petitions for one of his initiatives.

That information, like our voter rolls, is not and should not be a secret.

Eyman’s response to this legitimate public records request is to publish the requestor’s personal contact information (including his cell phone number) to his e-mail list. Eyman is openly inviting his supporters to harass the NEA’s Charles Hasse. It’s not the first time, either. Eyman has purposely published opponents’ cell phone numbers in comment threads on the conservative blog Sound Politics.

He has also leveled personal attacks against many of his opponents in e-mail screeds to his supporters or to reporters.

Eyman actually took advantage of our state’s sunshine laws to obtain Charles Hasse’s personal contact information so he could distribute it to his supporters… while calling Hasse’s records request “despicable”.

What should Eyman call his own behavior? Ugly? Stinky? How about just plain disgusting? The hypocrisy is incredible… breathtaking.

At the very least, Eyman’s actions can provide some helpful guidance to reporters: Do not communicate with Eyman using non-work related means of communication (for example, personal cell phone number). There’s no telling what he might do with the information… he certainly doesn’t have any qualms about giving it out.

Dunmire props Eyman up with big bucks

Election Postmortem

The AP has an “exclusive” article up on the wire tonight announcing that Tim Eyman and his initiative factory partners (Mike and Jack Fagan) will split a salary fund of $209,000.

Roughly half of the $209,000 came from Eyman’s multimillion dollar backer, Michael Dunmire of Woodinville, an investment banker. Eyman thrives on media attention and special interest money. He is completely disconnected from the people of the state of Washington.

Eyman is truly nothing without Dunmire’s money. Dunmire provided about 80% of the funding to get Initiative 900 on the ballot.

Eyman is not a populist and he does not represent the people. He only represents special interests and conservative multimillionaires.

Contribution of $20,000 that Tim Eyman bragged about last month missing from PDC reports

Eye on Money: Developments

Once again, Tim Eyman has been caught in another lie.

The initiative profiteer gleefully told his supporters in a July 23rd fundraising email that he’d recieved a “$20,000 gift” from one of his supporters:

“Yesterday, one of our supporters donated $20,000 to our compensation fund “Help Us Help Taxpayers.” Jack, Mike, and I are extremely grateful for this tremendous generosity. We know that not everyone can donate that much, but we hope that all of you will participate as much as you can. The compensation fund will be divided between the three of us and will be used to compensate us for our effective political work.”

But on August 10th, in the monthly report to the Public Disclosure Commission on campaign contributions, the $20,000 was nowhere to be found.

Eyman’s personal compensation fund, Help Us Help Taxpayers, only reported collecting $7,325 for the month of August. That leaves an important question- where is the missing money?

Either Eyman has lied to the PDC about the gift by not reporting the money, or he lied to his supporters by telling them he’d received a gift when he really hadn’t.

Whatever the story is, Tim Eyman has always had a history of exploring the gray areas of the public disclosure law throughout the last few years.

The initiative profiteer became famous in February of 2002 when he was forced to admit he had taken $50,000 from his campaigns and was planning to take another $150,000. Of course, Eyman at first lied and said he was working for free.

Tim Eyman has always been a liar. He lies about his finances and his initiatives. His entire operation is fraudulent and deceitful.

Time and time again, he’s let down his followers. 3 of his last four initiatives haven’t made the ballot, even though he insisted they would because they were “wildly popular”. And he’s repeatedly lied about his finances, including the hundreds of thousands he took and then lied about taking back in 2000 and 2001.

This latest revelation proves once again that Tim is neither accountable nor truthful. The money he says he received wasn’t reported. No matter which way you look at this one, Tim Eyman has been dishonest.

The PDC should take this violation very seriously and prosecute Eyman to the fullest extent of the law. After Eyman was delinquent in his reports last spring, the PDC said that future violations would not be tolerated.

Eyman should be penalized for repeatedly ignoring and disregarding campaign finance laws. From his taking of campaign funds to pay himself, his “legal defense fund” to delinquent reporting and inability to report funds he says he has, Tim Eyman is clearly a repeat offender, and the PDC should hold him responsible.

It’s clearer than ever before that Tim Eyman, his moneymaking operation, and his initiative factory are all just a big sham out to take advantage of Washingtonians.

See for yourself: The Eyman email

From: Tim Eyman
Date: Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:23:32 AM US/Pacific
Subject: Track record of success and progress

To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state

From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, and Mike Fagan

RE: Tremendous generosity is appreciated

Over the past seven years, all of you have worked with Jack, Mike, and I to change Washington’s politics forever. Vehicle tabs are no longer outrageously expensive and property taxes are capped with a limit more restrictive than any other in the nation. In the last two legislative sessions, the general fund budgets were balanced without tax increases. Our insistence that tax increases be put to a public vote ensured the defeat of Referendum 51, the $8 billion transportation tax increase. Politicians in the Puget Sound abandoned plans to ask voters for a $14 billion tax increase because they knew voters would say no. Sales tax increases were put up for a vote in Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties and all of them were overwhelmingly rejected. The initiative process is under constant assault and thanks to your support and lobbying of the Legislature, we’ve beaten back legislative efforts to eliminate or undermine our right to initiative.

This November, we’re voting on shrinking the size of the King County Council from 13 politicians to nine. This week, after two years of judicial haggling, I-776 is being implemented and we’ll soon begin getting $39.2 million in refund checks for vehicle charges that I-776 repealed. In December, we’re goin’ ROUND 2 in court over I-776 because it explicitly repealed Sound Transit’s tax on vehicles but Sound Transit refuses to abide by the voters’ decision. Voters approved I-776 which, among other things, ripped away 20% of Sound Transit’s funding, yet Sound Transit continues to obstruct this voter-approved and court-backed initiative. It’s critical to hold the Attorney General’s feet to the fire and aggressively defend I-776 on into 2005.

Property taxes in Washington are so obscene and unsustainable that we put forth two property tax cutting initiatives this year. The one that qualified for the ballot will be approved in November and it reduces property taxes $400 million per year. And we’re coming back next year with a new property tax limitation initiative that reduces them even more.

I admit that I’m obsessively optimistic and always see the glass as half full. But how could you look at this track record of success and progress and not come to the same conclusion: that thanks to all of you, we’ve become the most effective taxpayer protection organization in the state.

As long as we’re out here fighting for the taxpayers, the politicians are on a much shorter leash. After all, politicians are at their most dangerous when they don’t think voters are watching. And thanks to the initiative process and your persistence and perseverance, we’re holding politicians accountable each and ever day.

The response to our request for compensation has been overwhelming. Our supporters understand that we simply can’t afford to spend our time, effort, and expertise on these critical taxpayer protection efforts without being compensated for it. We’re getting letters and checks and emails from supporters offering their financial assistance.

Yesterday, one of our supporters donated $20,000 to our compensation fund “Help Us Help Taxpayers.” Jack, Mike, and I are extremely grateful for this tremendous generosity. We know that not everyone can donate that much, but we hope that all of you will participate as much as you can. The compensation fund will be divided between the three of us and will be used to compensate us for our effective political work.

Having a separate, stand-alone compensation fund for the three of us allows each of you to decide for yourselves what our efforts are worth to you. If you appreciate our past, current, and future efforts and you like having politicians on a shorter leash because they know we’re out here, then please donate generously to “Help Us Help Taxpayers.”

We would be extremely grateful for any financial assistance you can offer.

Best Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan

P.S. There are thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and special interest groups working each and every day to raise your taxes. Shouldn’t there be at least one person, one team, one organization that fights to lower your taxes? Please help us so we can continue our successful efforts on behalf of taxpayers.

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