This Friday, we will be one month away from Permanent Defense’s ten year anniversary. During the last decade, we have devoted ourselves not only opposing Tim Eyman and his initiative factory, but watchdogging Eyman as well. And in that time, we’ve repeatedly caught Eyman telling his own followers and the press one thing after he had told them something very different just a few months earlier.
For instance, in 2006, we caught Eyman in a lie about the signature drive for Initiative 917, which never made the ballot. (Eyman blamed I-917’s failure on the Secretary of State, suggesting petitions had been “pilfered”, even though he was well aware that I-917 fell short because he didn’t pay for enough signatures to be collected).
It appears that once again, Eyman is being not being upfront with his supporters.
Shortly after New Year’s Day last year, Eyman laid out his plans for the next two years, blasting Governor Chris Gregoire for telling reporters she wasn’t going to allow the passage of I-1053 to dictate how she governed for the remainder of her term. Here’s a passage from his email, dated January 6th, 2011:
Four times the voters have approved the policies in I-1053. We’re going to give the voters their 5th opportunity in 2012. [Note: These figures are incorrect. There have been only three ballot measures having to do with instituting a two-thirds vote for tax increases: I-601, I-960, and I-1053. Eyman is dishonestly inflating the number].
So for the next two years, the voters will be watching Olympia to see if they got the message. If the Legislature and Governor abide by the will of the people in the next two legislative sessions, our 2012 initiative may not be as popular as I-1053. But if Olympia disregards, dismisses, or disrespects the policies, purposes, and clear intent of I-1053, the voters will surely renew I-1053’s policies a 5th time (and we’ll likely tighten the belt a notch tighter).
The following Monday (January 10th, 2011), Eyman held a press conference to affirm his plans to run a 1053 clone in 2012. Here is an exact quote from the middle of that press conference (which was attended by a number of reporters), just before Eyman staged his photo-op at the Secretary of State’s front desk.
We’re announcing today that we are filing an initiative to renew the two-thirds requirement for raising taxes [and] the requirement that the Legislature has to take a recorded vote in order to increase fees… We have learned from last year’s campaign that we weren’t able to raise enough money and organize things in one year in order to be able to get that initiative done. I took out a second mortgage on my house – that’s still outstanding – and so, we’re going to take the next two years in order to organize this effort to renew the two-thirds.
In the months that followed, Eyman sent out over a dozen emails asking his supporters for money to “renew the two-thirds” and to pay down the mortgage he took out to finance I-1053. When he unveiled Initiative 1125 on May 2nd, 2011 (which he later qualified for the ballot with Kemper Freeman’s money), he again explicitly recommitted to his pledge. From his email sent that day:
We had originally planned to simply reinstate the policies in I-1053 with a Son of 1053 initiative next year. WE’RE STILL GOING TO DO THAT.
But we’ve decided to do an initiative this year that addresses Olympia’s sidestepping of I-1053 but also brings a few urgent transportation policy decisions to the attention of the public.
However, in an email sent out to supporters yesterday, Eyman made no acknowledgment of his 2011 pledge, characterizing his plans for 2012 as “to be determined”. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the email:
As for our initiative efforts in 2012, we want to see how the legislative session unfolds before deciding which initiative(s) will be pushed. On Friday, we filed 5 different initiatives (Son of 1053, Bring Back our $30 Car Tabs, Let the Voters Decide on Automatic Ticketing Cameras, Protect the Initiative Act, and Stop Government Fraud Act). Each one tackles a serious public policy problem. There will likely be others. Which one(s) we’ll do in 2012 will be announced later. On several issues, Olympia isn’t listening to the people and so if they aren’t going to solve these problems, we’d like to give the voters the chance to.
So, just to recap: Tim Eyman appears to have downgraded his “Son of 1053” initiative from its status as the plan for 2012 – count on it! to Option A for 2012. Or B. Or whatever. What matters is this: Eyman has been asking his followers to give him money for an initiative he said was going to spend two years promoting. But now that initiative is just one of many initiatives that Eyman might push. What’s up with that?
A year ago, Tim Eyman stood in the foyer of Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office in the Legislative Building with Jack and Mike Fagan at his side and pledged to spend the next two years preparing to “renew the two-thirds”. We were there. We witnessed it. And we subsequently witnessed Eyman’s attempt to raise money for the effort. “We are raising funds for the next 2/3’s initiative,” Eyman said in a February 2nd, 2011 email to followers in which he declared he was “hitting the big panic button”.
If Eyman had actually leveled with his supporters and been totally honest, he would have said something along the lines of, “We’re raising money for my benefit. I’ll decide what to do with the money after you give it to me. We might use some of it to do a Son of 1053, but we might not, because I could change my mind depending on whether a ‘super supporter’ steps up to help make this possible. Either way… please send your most generous contribution to me right now!”
But honesty is not what Tim Eyman is known for. He’s a master salesman with a gift for deception. His conscience is apparently three sizes (or maybe three hundred sizes) too small, because it only kicks in when he’s telling whoppers, and only after he’s been called out – as he was during the Initiative 747 campaign, when Christian Sinderman accused Eyman of pocketing his own supporters’ money for his personal use.
(Eyman lied to his supporters for months about taking the money before finally confessing the truth in February 2002.)
As we have amply documented above, Eyman told the press, the public, and his supporters last year that he was doing a “Son of 1053” initiative this year. He attempted to raise money for the effort. But evidently, the fundraising wasn’t going well, because Eyman quit talking about “raising funds for the next 2/3’s initiative” during the I-1125 campaign. And he’s not moving ahead with “Son of 1053” now.
It appears that privately, he is in now in auctioneer mode, attempting to sell his wares – er, initiatives – to a sugar daddy, hence the “to be determined” posture. Eyman knows that without a sugar daddy, he can’t qualify “Son of 1053” – or any other initiative he might like to run – for the ballot. And he doesn’t want to mount a signature drive only to have it end in failure. So he is keeping his powder dry until he can close a sales pitch with a wealthy benefactor.
It’s probable than he’ll find someone… he got the gambling industry to finance I-892, Michael Dunmire to finance I-900/I-917/I-985/I-1033, big banks and oil companies to finance I-1053, and Kemper Freeman to finance I-1125.
Eyman could level with his followers about all this. But that would mean the press and the public would find out, too. He’d have to admit that his initiative factory isn’t grassroots. So he’s keeping his own people in the dark. Pretty sad.