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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Tim Eyman’s lawsuit over I‑1185 fiscal impact “dimissed in full and with prejudice”

A base­less law­suit filed by Tim Eyman against the state’s Office of Finan­cial Man­age­ment (OFM) has been dis­missed in full and with prej­u­dice fol­low­ing a hear­ing in Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court ear­li­er today.

After lis­ten­ing to argu­ments by Senior Coun­sel Steve Diet­rich (rep­re­sent­ing the state) and Tim Eyman (who appeared pro se), Judge James Dixon signed an order pre­sent­ed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rob McKen­na dis­miss­ing the case in its entire­ty. His deci­sion means that Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed’s office can move for­ward with the print­ing of the voter’s pam­phlet for the Novem­ber gen­er­al election.

Eyman had peti­tioned the court to force OFM to rewrite its fis­cal impact state­ment for Ini­tia­tive 1185, his lat­est attempt to reim­pose his uncon­sti­tu­tion­al scheme that pre­vents the Leg­is­la­ture from rais­ing rev­enue with­out a two-thirds vote.

But Judge Dixon found his com­plaint to be with­out merit.

Eyman filed his suit because he was unhap­py that the fis­cal impact state­ment for I‑1185 did not match the one OFM pub­lished two years ago for I‑1053. Eyman con­tend­ed that OFM should have sim­ply re-issued the doc­u­ment it pub­lished two sum­mers ago with a cou­ple of minor word changes. But, as we explained ear­li­er this week, there’s a very good rea­son why OFM did­n’t do that:

OFM has a duty to the peo­ple and the elect­ed lead­ers of Wash­ing­ton State to accu­rate­ly iden­ti­fy and describe fis­cal impacts of pro­posed initiatives.

In 2010, pri­or to the adop­tion of Ini­tia­tive 1053, the agency deter­mined that enact­ment of I‑1053 would not have a direct fis­cal impact. At the time, I‑1053 was not law, so OFM was mak­ing an edu­cat­ed guess about the initiative.

As it turned out, the fee pro­vi­sion of I‑1053 (which was not present in I‑1053′s pre­de­ces­sor, I‑960) did have a direct fis­cal impact, so OFM appro­pri­ate­ly took that into account when prepar­ing the fis­cal impact state­ment for I‑1185.

Tim Eyman is now ask­ing a court to force OFM to not account for its pri­or mis­take – in oth­er words, to not make use of what it has learned about I‑1053 since I‑1053 went into effect – because he does not want the truth about the con­se­quences of I‑1053′s clone I‑1185 to be known and to be discussed.

Eyman’s law­suit is com­plete­ly with­out mer­it. OFM has not com­mit­ted any wrong­do­ing. The agency should not be com­pelled to reis­sue its fis­cal impact state­ment for I‑1185 sim­ply because Tim Eyman doesn’t like it.

Eyman, who loves to orches­trate pub­lic­i­ty stunts to attract news cov­er­age, tried to dress the part of a lawyer and sound lawyer-like. He opt­ed for a suit and tie and report­ed­ly did his best to put on a show for the cam­eras with­out break­ing deco­rum. But it was all for naught. His request to pre­vent OFM’s fis­cal impact state­ment from being pub­lished in the voter’s pam­phlet was denied.

Amus­ing­ly, he appeared uncon­cerned about the demise of his case after it was dis­missed, despite hav­ing fret­ted in his legal plead­ing that OFM’s fis­cal impact state­ment would under­cut his abil­i­ty to sell I‑1185 to voters.

Eyman claimed after­ward that he was rep­re­sent­ing him­self because he had antic­i­pat­ed he’d lose and did­n’t want to have to foot a $6,000 bill for hav­ing an attor­ney appear on his behalf. But $6,000 is chump change con­sid­er­ing how much mon­ey pow­er­ful cor­po­ra­tions have ponied up for I‑1185. Why was Eyman unwill­ing to spend any of his oil or beer mon­ey pur­su­ing this case?

Maybe it’s because this real­ly was just anoth­er pub­lic­i­ty stunt.

POSTSCRIPT: Brad Shan­non and Jim Cam­den have more.

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