Tag Archives: I-517

Momentum builds against Tim Eyman’s Initiative 517

From the Campaign TrailStatements & Advisories

The diverse and bipartisan group of organizations, businesses and concerned individuals working together to defeat Tim Eyman’s latest initiative is stepping up efforts to ensure that voters are aware of the cost and consequences of I-517.

I-517 would lengthen the signature gathering period, permit petitioners to go inside public buildings, prohibit businesses from reining in aggressive signature gatherers, and require that all local initiatives go to the ballot at taxpayer expense – even if they are invalid or unconstitutional.

“Voters need to know about the fatal flaws with Tim Eyman’s Initiative 517 before they make a decision,” said NO on I-517 steering committee member Andrew Villeneuve, the founder of the Northwest Progressive Institute.

“Our diverse, bipartisan coalition is committed to ensuring that Washingtonians know that I-517 threatens the free speech and property rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution and the Washington State Constitution.”

Organizations that have recently joined the opposition to I-517 include the Spokane Home Builders, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, and the Kittitas, Kitsap, and Whatcom County Democratic Parties. More groups and individuals are adding their names every week.

Also opposed to I-517 are Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC, the Washington State Democratic Party, the Mainstream Republicans of Washington, the Northwest Progressive Institute, and the Association of Washington Business. Current and former elected officials opposed to I-517 include Representative Sam Hunt (D-Olympia), former Attorney General Rob McKenna, former Auditor Brian Sonntag, and former Secretaries of State Sam Reed and Ralph Munro.

The NO on I-517 Coalition additionally welcomed the endorsements of The Seattle Times, The News Tribune of Tacoma, and Governor Jay Inslee, all received during the past seven days.

The News Tribune wrote of I-517, “The right to petition the government is a vital one. But all rights have limits. I-517 overreaches, giving signature gatherers privileges that infringe on those of private property owners and the public.”

The Seattle Times added, “[I]t would grease the signature-gathering process. It reads as if Tim Eyman wrote it to expand his initiative-manufacturing industry… I-517 overreaches by broadening the turf for signature gathering. The clipboard armies would be explicitly allowed in any public building, including any public sports venue, and on ‘all public sidewalks and walkways that carry pedestrian traffic.'”

And Governor Jay Inslee told public radio’s Austin Jenkins that he’s voting NO on I-517 because it violates the First Amendment rights of ballot measure opponents:

Inslee says he will vote “no” on the other measure on Washington’s November ballot. Initiative 517 would give ballot measure sponsors more time to collect signatures. It would also set penalties for interfering with or retaliating against signature-gatherers or petition-signers. Inslee says he thinks the proposal would intrude on people’s First Amendment rights to express their opinions.

To learn more about the campaign against I-517, visit the coalition’s website.

NPI’s Permanent Defense responds to the discovery of thousands of fraudulent I-517 and I-522 signatures

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsFrom the Campaign TrailStatements & Advisories

This afternoon, the Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced that, after reviewing petitions submitted for Tim Eyman’s I-517 and Chris McManus’ I-522, her office had asked the Washington State Patrol to open a criminal investigation into what she called “the worst apparent initiative fraud anyone can remember.” As many as eight thousand signatures for I-517 and I-522 may be fraudulent.

Since mid-spring of 2012, when we first learned that Tim Eyman and his friends Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agazarm were making an attempt to quietly and illegitimately collect signatures for a second initiative by piggybacking on the signature drive for I-1185, we have been watchdogging and monitoring the I-517 campaign as closely as possible… a difficult task, given that Tim Eyman and his pals ran the entire operation in stealth mode up until the very end.

Prior to today’s announcement, we had already documented a troubling set of discrepancies with the I-517 campaign, many of which were included in the complaint against the I-517 campaign filed with the Public Disclosure Commission by Sherry Bockwinkel last August. Sadly, the PDC has so far failed to launch a full-scale investigation in response to the complaint. We urge the PDC to bring the complaint out of limbo and open a formal inquiry immediately.

We thank Secretary of State Kim Wyman and her team for referring this matter to the State Patrol for a full investigation. We understand that the State Patrol is already investigating fraudulent signatures that were submitted as part of last year’s charter schools initiative, and we will be following that investigation as well.

However, we need more than an investigation into these fraudulent signatures. The signature gathering industry in our state has been operating for years out of the public eye with next to no oversight. Our research has found that our state’s signature gathering firms, like Eddie Agazarm and Roy Ruffino’s Citizen Solutions, have been exploiting their petition workers for years and failing to comply with our worker protection laws. It is time for lawmakers and the Department of Labor & Industries to fully investigate this industry and ensure that firms like Citizen Solutions are brought into full compliance with our laws. Instances of fraud are less likely to occur if regulators do their job.

We applaud the Secretary of State’s Elections Division for planning to meet with elections officials in Oregon to discuss how to toughen our state’s laws and regulations. We believe we should learn from Oregon’s experience so we can prevent the same kind of problems from getting completely out of hand here.

Tim Eyman would like us all to think that signature fraud is a problem that doesn’t exist. But as this and past incidents demonstrate, he is dead wrong. He’s against oversight anbd regulation of the signature gathering industry because it could negatively affect his profits.

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