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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