NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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.

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Faye Garneau, Suzie Burke, NECA keeping Tim Eyman’s initiative factory lubricated with cash

Thanks to a mix of new and old wealthy bene­fac­tors who have been fill­ing his cam­paign cof­fers with megabucks, Tim Eyman appears to have all the mon­ey he needs to buy his way onto this Novem­ber’s bal­lot with the destruc­tive, hostage-tak­ing ini­tia­tive that he tried and failed to qual­i­fy last year.

Reports just filed with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion (PDC) by Eyman’s trea­sur­er show that Eyman and his asso­ciates received a num­ber of five and six-fig­ure checks for the month of April, the third month of activ­i­ty for Ini­tia­tive 1336.

I‑1336, as men­tioned, is a clone of I‑1325 from 2014. It would slash the state sales tax by about 13%, wip­ing out around $1 bil­lion a year in rev­enue… unless the Leg­is­la­ture capit­u­lates to Eyman by next April and votes for a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment to per­ma­nent­ly require a two-thirds vote to raise rev­enue, in vio­la­tion of the plan of gov­ern­ment that our founders gave us.

Eyman already has Repub­li­cans in the Leg­is­la­ture ready to vote for such an amend­ment, but iron­i­cal­ly, because amend­ments require a two-thirds of each house to pass, he needs the sup­port of Democ­rats. I‑1366 is designed to black­mail Democ­rats into vot­ing for I‑1366 by tak­ing Wash­ing­ton’s kids hostage.

While the state’s major busi­ness­es and trade asso­ci­a­tions have stayed away from I‑1366, Eyman has man­aged to per­suade a num­ber of very wealthy right wing indi­vid­u­als to give him boat­loads of mon­ey to pay peti­tion­ers to col­lect sig­na­tures for I‑1366. The biggest bene­fac­tor to the cam­paign thus far is right wing devel­op­er Clyde Hol­land of Van­cou­ver, who has giv­en $300,000.

Long­time Eyman bene­fac­tor Kem­per Free­man, Jr., the own­er of the Belle­vue Col­lec­tion (Belle­vue Square, Lin­coln Square, Belle­vue Place) ponied up $100,000, while Ken­neth Fish­er and Robert Rotel­la con­tributed $25,000 each.

Data: Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion | Chart: North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute

As the updat­ed chart above shows, the most recent wealthy bene­fac­tors to pump mon­ey into Eyman’s I‑1366 are Faye Gar­neau, Suzie Burke, and the Nation­al Elec­tri­cal Con­trac­tors Asso­ci­a­tion’s Puget Sound chap­ter.

Seat­tle denizens Gar­neau and Burke became Eyman donors (or, in the words of the Seat­tle P‑I’s Joel Con­nel­ly, sug­ar mom­mies) last year when Eyman man­u­fac­tured a statewide ini­tia­tive to the Leg­is­la­ture to over­turn Seat­tle and SeaT­ac’s $15/hour min­i­mum wage laws. Eyman was unable to get the larg­er busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty inter­est­ed, how­ev­er, and the mea­sure did not get off the ground.

NECA PS has giv­en Eyman mon­ey for years, but usu­al­ly in small­er amounts.

NECA, Gar­neau, and Burke account­ed for % of Eyman’s haul for April. Here’s a run­down of the big­ger con­tri­bu­tions that came in:

  • $100,000 from NECA, received April 11th
  • $50,000 from Gar­neau, received April
  • $45,000 from Burke, received April
  • $10,000 from Clark Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er David Madore
  • $10,000 from Jon Thrift of Van­cou­ver
  • $5,000 from Wal­ter T. Pereya of Sam­mamish, own­er of Profish
  • $5,000 from William Con­nor of Belle­vue
  • $5,000 from Per­ry J. Langston of Sno­homish

A fur­ther $19,344.33 came in from oth­er con­trib­u­tors. The cam­paign’s C4 states that a total of $249,344.33 came in for the month of April. That’s a quar­ter of a mil­lion dol­lars… about on par with March and Feb­ru­ary.

Eyman has now raised over $1.1 mil­lion for I‑1366, includ­ing his loans to him­self, which he will prob­a­bly repay with mon­ey not need­ed for sig­na­ture gath­er­ing.

To date, Eyman has trans­ferred $750,000 to Cit­i­zen Solu­tions for sig­na­ture gath­er­ing, and spent anoth­er $69,143.15 on addi­tion­al expens­es, most­ly relat­ed to mail­ing. That means that as of the end of April, $328,330.88 was unspent — enough to pay back the loans, with some mon­ey left over.

It’s safe to assume at this point that Eyman will be on the bal­lot with I‑1366, since he has the megabucks to buy his way on.

NPI is orga­niz­ing a coali­tion to fight I‑1366, and we wel­come the involve­ment of orga­ni­za­tions that read­ers are involved in. At the NO on I‑1366 web­site, you’ll find a mod­el res­o­lu­tion to use to take a posi­tion against I‑1366, along with more infor­ma­tion about the ini­tia­tive’s cost and con­se­quences.

Hav­ing fought Tim Eyman for over thir­teen years, we know he has a knack for con­vinc­ing wealthy right wing donors to give him lots of mon­ey to under­write destruc­tive ini­tia­tives. He has cre­at­ed a very prof­itable busi­ness out of sell­ing bad ideas. But, as we showed two years ago when we mount­ed an incred­i­bly suc­cess­ful cam­paign against I‑517 with our coali­tion part­ners, Eyman is not unbeat­able.

We’re com­mit­ted to build­ing a diverse and broad-based coali­tion to take on I‑1366 and defeat it. Join us, and help ensure that Tim Eyman’s lat­est and most destruc­tive ini­tia­tive gets the oppo­si­tion that it needs and deserves.

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