When Tim Eyman announced a few weeks ago that he would be attempting to qualify a measure for this year’s ballot, we were immediately sure that he had convinced somebody to put up a lot of cash to hire mercenary petitioners (because Tim doesn’t do volunteer signature drives). On May 1st, I wrote the following:
As for Eyman’s initiative, I-1125, it’s dead on arrival unless Eyman has found a wealthy benefactor to fund it. Maybe his buddy Kemper Freeman, Jr. agreed to give him half a million bucks. Or maybe Michael Dunmire has agreed to resume filling Eyman’s coffers with cash. We’ll know soon enough.
As it turns out, NPI was correct on every single count.
A few weeks ago, we learned that Eyman’s old sugar daddy Michael Dunmire had made a $100,000 contribution to Eyman’s personal compensation fund (Help Us Help Taxpayers). Eyman subsequently transferred this money to his campaign committee (Voters Want More Choices).
Now, Dunmire’s contribution may have been made to help Eyman reduce his debt (Dunmire previously wrote checks to cancel out Eyman’s loans for I-985 and I-1033) but it’s possible Eyman temporarily used the money to jumpstart the I-1125 signature drive. If that’s the case, then Dunmire’s money has been indirectly propping up I-1125, even if it was intended to erase some of the I-1053 debt.
Today, we learned that the real bankroll for I-1125 is Eyman’s other buddy, the guy who owns the Bellevue Collection and has been doing everything he can to destroy Sound Transit’s East Link project: Kemper Freeman Jr.
Hours ago, Eyman purposely preempted his own treasurer’s report for May to the PDC and announced that Kemper recently made a donation of – and no, I’m not joking – half a million bucks to the I-1125 effort.
So that analysis from May 1st was really spot on.
And just to be clear, we didn’t know who was behind I-1125 (or what the amounts of the checks that had been written were) before I wrote that post. (It’s not like Tim Eyman ever calls us to fill us in on what he’s up to).
It was simply an educated guess, based on years and years of experience. NPI’s Permanent Defense has been watchdogging Eyman for years.
When he makes an announcement, we’re pretty good at interpreting and parsing the meaning. We took the unveiling of I-1125 to mean that Eyman had found somebody to fund a signature drive. We were correct.
Today’s news destroys any last bit of doubt people might have had about I-1125 making the ballot. We’ve known for some time that the signature drive is happening and that Eyman had the cash lined up to make it successful.
So, once again, we’ll have a Tim Eyman initiative to work against this autumn. Having to deal with these schemes is getting pretty old.
And unfortunately, there’s no end in sight. As long as Tim Eyman can pay to play, and as long as he has friends with deep pockets, he’ll have something on the ballot. Year after year after year. Not since the 1990s has there been a spring when Tim Eyman wasn’t trying to qualify an initiative for the November ballot.
That’s how long he has been in business.
It’s time the progressive movement in this state discarded the pretense that he will someday go away, and started putting into place meaningful infrastructure to combat his destructive initiatives. What we do through Permanent Defense is important, but it’s not enough. PD is only meant to be a first line of defense.
Our common wealth and our plan of government will always be threatened as long as Tim Eyman’s initiative factory is running. We need to make stopping Tim’s initiatives a top priority that we think about and work towards year-round.