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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional 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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