The gears of Tim Eyman’s initiative factory appear to be spinning with full force once again following a major infusion of cash from two wealthy right wing developers, new reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission show.
The campaign committee for I‑1366, Eyman’s initiative for 2015, reported that for February of 2015 (its first month of operation), it raised a total of $452,444.04 (principally from three sources) and spent $158,111.78.
(I‑1366, for those readers unaware, is a scheme to coerce the Legislature into passing a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue. It would wipe out $1 billion a year in funding for schools and other vital public services if the Legislature doesn’t pass such an amendment by April of 2016.)
$150,000 of the nearly half a million the committee raised is a previously-reported loan taken out by Tim Eyman against his home to fund the initial weeks of the signature drive for I‑1366, which remains underway.
A further $100,000 came from Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, Jr., who ranks number second on the list of Tim Eyman’s top ten all-time wealthy benefactors, behind only the late Michael Dunmire, an investment banker. Freeman has a long history of giving to Eyman, but hasn’t written a check this big to him since 2012.
And then there’s a $150,000 donation from a new wealthy benefactor, exactly matching the amount of money Eyman borrowed against his home: Developer Clyde Holland of Vancouver, Washington.
Data: Public Disclosure Commission | Chart: Northwest Progressive Institute
Holland is the CEO of Holland Partners, which appears to consist of several related firms. One, Holland Development, calls itself “a premier developer of core urban infill residential and mixed-use trophy communities with a disciplined focus on high barrier-to-entry markets that appeal to the rising creative class.”
The Oregonian profiled Holland in 2013 and had this to say about him:
Clyde Holland spent much of his childhood packing.
Nineteen moves in 17 years will teach a young man a lot: how to build connections, develop relationships, make friends quick.
Today, the 53-year-old Air Force brat and real estate developer is firmly rooted in the Northwest and seems to have it all.
A dream house on 20 acres in Clark County, projects and regional offices in Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles, satellite operations in Phoenix and Northern California.
Thirteen years after leaving the national development firm Trammell Crow Company to start Holland Partners Group, he has $2.5 billion in projects in development across the West and employs 700 workers.
“Our focus is on how much value can we create,” Holland said of his firm and its philosophy.
Holland’s philosophy of creating value evidently doesn’t extend to politics, or he wouldn’t have agreed to become Tim Eyman’s newest wealthy benefactor.
Eyman is all about destroying value — whether that’s sabotaging our Constitution, attacking our cherished tradition of majority rule, wiping out funding for our vital public services, spreading misinformation, or polluting our political discourse. Running initiatives to wreck government is the only thing he does.
Holland has given to Eyman once before, PDC data shows, but that was a donation of just $500, made on March 17th of last year to Eyman’s failed I‑1325, which didn’t make the ballot. (I‑1366 is nearly identical to I‑1325). Eyman has now persuaded him to give three hundred times more than what he gave last year.
PDC reports list the date of Holland’s contribution as having been received on February 20th, 2015, ten days after Eyman announced he was taking out the loan. Likely Eyman secured a promise from Holland to write a big check prior to taking out the loan. In the past, every single time Eyman has borrowed against his home, his loans have been repaid thanks to contributions from wealthy benefactors.
A search of the PDC database reveals that Holland has been active in Republican Party circles as a major giver since 2012.
He has written checks to the Washington State Republican Party, the Republican caucus campaign committees, Rob McKenna, Don Benton, Ann Rivers, Lynda Wilson, Jan Angel, Liz Pike, and Ed Orcutt.
The Washington State Republican Party also received a large contribution from him last month, in the amount of $40,000. That was received February 2nd, 2015.
A previous contribution Holland made to the WSRP last year is the subject of a complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission by former State Senator Al Bauer. Bauer alleged that after maxing out to Republican Clark County Council candidate Jeanne Stewart, Holland and another major Republican donor illegally funnelled money through the state Republican Party to her candidacy.
Holland’s company is presently developing a new residential tower in Seattle, Premiere on Pine, which will be located at Ninth Avenue and Pine Street.
Holland is most likely the “successful businessman” Eyman has been talking about in his most recent emails to his followers, in which he says that any donation made to the I‑1366 campaign this month will be matched, dollar for dollar.
From Eyman’s March 2nd, 2015 email:
Thankfully, we’ve been given a tremendous opportunity to maximize this month’s effort: one of our supporters — a successful businessman — has offered to match dollar-for-dollar all donations our supporters give during the month of March.
So your $10 donation will be matched by him, resulting in $20 total to the campaign. Your $100 will be matched by him, resulting in $200 total to the campaign. $1000 is worth $2000. $5000 is worth $10,000.
Whatever amount we receive from all of you will be matched by him. It’s a very generous offer and an even greater opportunity for the campaign. Please maximize your support for I‑1366 by contributing this month.
This isn’t the first time Tim Eyman has spearheaded a matching campaign like this to spur his less-wealthy followers to donate… he did it years ago with Dunmire, too.
Assuming Eyman is not lying to his supporters (something he’s done plenty of times) and assuming Holland is the “successful businessman” Eyman’s talking about, then it seems he’s prepared to open his checkbook again to keep the gears of Eyman’s initiative factory lubricated with money.
Eyman will need more of Holland’s money. History has shown that when he doesn’t have a wealthy benefactor, he doesn’t get on the ballot. He needs rich people like Freeman and Holland to write him multiple six figure checks every year so that he can stay relevant. Otherwise his factory sputters to a halt.
The last time Eyman ran a successful signature drive was in 2012; when he qualified I‑1185 and I‑517 as initiatives to the people and the Legislature, respectively.
(I‑517 appeared on the ballot in 2013, where it was overwhelmingly rejected. The I‑517 campaign committee remains under investigation by the Public Disclosure Commission for serious violations of the state’s public disclosure laws.)
Based on what I’ve read of Holland so far, he doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would be careless with his money. But by shelling out big bucks to Tim Eyman, that is exactly what he is doing. Is Holland not aware that Eyman has a history of lying to his donors and using their money for his own personal use or for other projects? Or is he giving to Eyman in spite of that knowledge?
Either way, this is an incredibly troubling development.
But it’s not one that surprises us. Having fought Tim Eyman for over thirteen years, we know he’s a first-rate snake oil salesman. He’s very good at conning and duping people. That’s why we’ve been expecting that a new wealthy benefactor for his initiative factory might emerge. Now we have evidence that that’s happened.
As we announced last month, we have already begun organizing opposition to I‑1366, under the assumption Eyman will be able to buy his way onto the ballot.
We are grateful to the King County Democrats, 30th District Democrats, 45th District Democrats, and 32nd District Democrats for moving quickly to take positions against I‑1366. Many more organizations will be joining the coalition in the weeks to follow, and we look forward to working with them to build an effective campaign against I‑1366, Tim Eyman’s most destructive initiative to date.