NO on Tim Eyman's I-1366
NO on Tim Eyman's I-1366

He’s back… sort of.

Noto­ri­ous ini­tia­tive prof­i­teer Tim Eyman emerged briefly from his self-imposed seclu­sion ear­li­er today to attend a meet­ing with the edi­to­r­i­al board of The Seat­tle Times to make his case for I‑1366, his lat­est and most destruc­tive ini­tia­tive yet, with extrem­ist Repub­li­can State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ed Orcutt in tow as his side­kick du jour.

I‑1366 would wipe out $8 bil­lion in sales tax rev­enue over the next six years unless the Leg­is­la­ture bows to Eyman’s will and pass­es an amend­ment per­ma­nent­ly sab­o­tag­ing our Con­sti­tu­tion’s major­i­ty vote require­ment for pas­sage of legislation.

Eyman failed to show up last week to debate I‑1366 with Fuse’s Aaron Ostrom because KING5 refused to agree to Eyman’s stip­u­la­tion that he not be asked about his secret mon­ey manip­u­la­tions. He also blew off the edi­to­r­i­al boards of The Stranger and The Olympian. But he appar­ent­ly felt he could­n’t do the same with the Times.

The Times’ Jim Brun­ner, who sat in on the edi­to­r­i­al board meet­ing, reports that Eyman refused to answer any ques­tions per­tain­ing to his alleged law­break­ing:

Eyman said he’d only talk about the mer­its of that ini­tia­tive in response to numer­ous ques­tions from edi­to­r­i­al board mem­bers and a Seat­tle Times reporter about the PDC alle­ga­tions, which are now under review by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Ferguson’s office.

Let’s make one thing clear: There are no mer­its to I‑1366. It’s Tim Eyman’s worst idea ever. I‑1366 is a mean-spir­it­ed, scorched-earth ini­tia­tive rem­i­nis­cent of Repub­li­cans’ failed fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down of two years ago.

With I‑1366, Eyman aims to wreak cat­a­stroph­ic dam­age on Wash­ing­ton’s K‑12 schools, col­leges, uni­ver­si­ties, and oth­er vital pub­lic ser­vices if the Leg­is­la­ture does­n’t sab­o­tage our cher­ished tra­di­tion of major­i­ty rule.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly for Tim, his past mis­deeds caught up with him with a month to go before vot­ing begins in the Novem­ber 2015 gen­er­al elec­tion. The Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion has asked Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son to pros­e­cute Eyman for seri­ous vio­la­tions of Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure law. Nat­u­ral­ly, the Times tried to get Eyman to respond to the alle­ga­tions. But he would­n’t.

He would not say whether he was being paid this year by Cit­i­zen Solu­tions, the sig­na­ture-gath­er­ing firm that received more than $1.2 mil­lion this year to qual­i­fy I‑1366 for the Novem­ber ballot.

The PDC probe found evi­dence Eyman has received hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in pay­ments from the firm — includ­ing a $300,000 wire trans­fer in 2012. Eyman also refused to say whether he believes he should have been more trans­par­ent or whether any donors have told him they feel mis­led by his activities.

“I believe that I will be talk­ing exclu­sive­ly about Ini­tia­tive 1366. You can ask me every ques­tion you want,” Eyman said.

All attempts to pin Eyman down proved fruitless.

“I respect the fact that you have to ask the ques­tions … But any ques­tion you ask me about it, I’m sim­ply going to talk more about 1366,” he said.

It’s like 2002 all over again:

[Eyman] refused to answer ques­tions about the state attor­ney gen­er­al’s law­suit against him and his cam­paign com­mit­tee, Per­ma­nent Offense. State inves­ti­ga­tors say he secret­ly paid him­self $233,000 in cam­paign donations.

“I won’t be address­ing those ques­tions today,” he said repeatedly.

Before the Seat­tle Post-Intel­li­gencer exposed his mon­ey diver­sions and his for­mer busi­ness part­ner con­firmed it, why had Eyman con­sis­tent­ly claimed to be an unpaid cam­paign volunteer?

And why did he tell sup­port­ers in a mass e‑mail Mon­day that most peo­ple knew all along he was being paid?

“We’re not address­ing those ques­tions today,” he said. “Today is about Ini­tia­tive 776, and we won’t be address­ing those questions.”

Will he ever address them? Same answer.

Was yes­ter­day’s appear­ance a per­ma­nent com­ing out? Has Eyman decid­ed he’s had enough of his self-imposed pur­ga­to­r­i­al period?

“I appre­ci­ate the ques­tion, and we won’t be answer­ing that ques­tion today.”

Is he sor­ry he took the cam­paign money?

“I won’t be able to address that ques­tion today.”

The above para­graphs are from a Seat­tle Post-Intel­li­gencer sto­ry filed by leg­endary reporter Neil Modie on July 2nd, 2002 — the day Eyman turned in sig­na­tures for I‑776 (the first Eyman ini­tia­tive that NPI’s Per­ma­nent Defense fought). Modie attend­ed Eyman’s press con­fer­ence at the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex and tried to get Eyman to talk about the state’s inves­ti­ga­tion into his wrongdoing.

But, like a slip­pery eel, Eyman deflect­ed every ques­tion reporters threw his way, repeat­ed­ly piv­ot­ing back to pro­mot­ing I‑776, which Eyman con­ceived to crip­ple Sound Tran­sit and pre­vent ST from start­ing con­struc­tion on Link light rail. (Thank­ful­ly, Eyman’s I‑776 failed to stop Link’s groundbreaking.)

A few weeks lat­er, he set­tled Attor­ney Gen­er­al Chris Gre­goire’s law­suit against him, pay­ing a $50,000 fine and agree­ing nev­er to again serve as a cam­paign treasurer.

Thir­teen years have passed since, but Eyman has­n’t changed much. He’s still ped­dling destruc­tive ini­tia­tives and break­ing our state’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure law in the process. Eyman seems to think the rules sim­ply don’t apply to him (iron­ic for a guy who once tried to sell a ini­tia­tive to expand gam­bling using the slo­gan Just Treat Us The Same). He resents it when the media won’t let him stick to his script.

He’s also extreme­ly irri­tat­ed that he has to put up with oppo­nents with us.

Eyman said his crit­ics are always try­ing to “change the sub­ject” from the pol­i­cy debate, and that sup­port­ers of I‑1366 want him to stay focused on the bal­lot mea­sure and noth­ing else.

What pol­i­cy debate? Tim Eyman, his wealthy bene­fac­tors, and his side­kicks aren’t inter­est­ed in hav­ing a debate, let alone a dia­logue, over what would con­sti­tute good pub­lic pol­i­cy for our state. They’re not inter­est­ed in reform­ing our tax code, mak­ing pub­lic ser­vices work more effec­tive­ly, improv­ing our state’s busi­ness cli­mate, or empow­er­ing our cities and coun­ties to bet­ter serve their constituents.

No, their objec­tive is to car­ry out Grover Norquist’s agen­da here in this Wash­ing­ton. They want to wreck our gov­ern­ment so it can’t func­tion the way our founders intend­ed it to any­more. They’re mil­i­tant extremists.

We’ve seen what hap­pens at the fed­er­al lev­el when mil­i­tant extrem­ists get to call the shots. That’s not the future we want for Wash­ing­ton State.

NPI is proud to be part of a broad, diverse, and grow­ing coali­tion com­mit­ted to the defeat of Tim Eyman’s I‑1366. Every day, more indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions join our cause. This week, we are hap­py to wel­come the Alzheimers Asso­ci­a­tion, Asso­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tured Home­own­ers, Retired Pub­lic Employ­ees of Wash­ing­ton, Group Health Coop­er­a­tive Senior Cau­cus, and Catholic Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices of Wash­ing­ton to the NO on I‑1366 coali­tion roster.

If you haven’t pledged to vote NO on I‑1366, we invite you to do so today. You can also make a dona­tion online to help us defeat Tim Eyman’s I‑1366.

Now is the time for us to come togeth­er as a state and reject the pol­i­tics of hostage-tak­ing. I‑1366 needs and deserves our whole­heart­ed opposition.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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