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.

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Tim Eyman’s wealthy benefactors funding Rodney Tom’s attacks on Justice Wiggins

New­ly filed reports with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion show that sev­er­al of Tim Eyman’s top wealthy bene­fac­tors are work­ing with Med­i­na’s Rod­ney Tom to fund $350,000 worth of attack ads against Supreme Court Jus­tice Char­lie Wig­gins, who is one of three incum­bents seek­ing reelec­tion to the state’s high­est court this year.

Tom’s polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee, disin­gen­u­ous­ly named “Judi­cial Integri­ty Wash­ing­ton”, pre­vi­ous­ly tar­get­ed Chief Jus­tice Bar­bara Mad­sen in the Top Two elec­tion. Although the PAC spent sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars in an attempt to defeat her, Mad­sen still man­aged to swamp both of her oppo­nents, win­ning 63.9% of the vote. And she enjoys the sup­port of all the state’s major news­pa­per pub­lish­ers, whose rec­om­men­da­tions in judi­cial con­tests can have some influ­ence.

Hav­ing appar­ent­ly con­clud­ed that Wig­gins is actu­al­ly more vul­ner­a­ble than Mad­sen, Rod­ney Tom has decid­ed to change tar­gets for the gen­er­al elec­tion, hop­ing to knock out at least one of the jus­tices respon­si­ble for strik­ing down the League of Edu­ca­tion Vot­ers’ I‑1240 (char­ter schools) and Tim Eyman’s numer­ous uncon­sti­tu­tion­al schemes to starve pub­lic ser­vices by requir­ing a two-thirds vote to pass rev­enue bills in the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture.

“Judi­cial Integri­ty Wash­ing­ton” has so far raised $453,100.00. $350,000 of that is from bil­lion­aire Ken­neth Fish­er of Camas. Kem­per Free­man, Jr. of Belle­vue has giv­en $50,000, and for­mer wire­less mogul John Stan­ton has giv­en $50,000 as well. Artie Buerk has giv­en $3,000 and Rod­ney Tom him­self gave $100.

Those are the only con­tri­bu­tions on record to date.

Rod­ney Tom is the PAC’s sole offi­cer. The PAC’s C1-PC lists him as both the “cam­paign man­ag­er” and the Trea­sur­er.

The PAC is Tom’s oper­a­tion, but Tim Eyman is also periph­er­al­ly involved.

Not coin­ci­den­tal­ly, Eyman yes­ter­day sent out an email to his fol­low­ers evis­cer­at­ing Wig­gins and call­ing for his ouster from the Supreme Court.

“Charles Wig­gins is an embar­rass­ment and deserves to be removed from office,” snapped Eyman. “He and Bar­bara Mad­sen and Mary Yu are run­ning for reelec­tion and on the Novem­ber bal­lot. They all feel enti­tled to their posi­tions and annoyed that they need to defend their inde­fen­si­ble rul­ings.”

(Empha­sis is Eyman’s.)

As usu­al, Tim Eyman has no idea what he’s talk­ing about. I have seen each of the afore­men­tioned jus­tices this year out on the cam­paign trail, and I can attest that Eyman’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of them is false. Jus­tices Yu, Mad­sen, and Wig­gins are some of the most acces­si­ble jurists I’ve ever met. They are glad to engage cit­i­zens in con­ver­sa­tion and talk about issues like access to jus­tice. They are very seri­ous about com­ply­ing with judi­cial ethics rules, and fol­low those to the let­ter.

Eyman’s vicious and vin­dic­tive­ly word­ed email from yes­ter­day sug­gests he has been itch­ing to take a swing at Jus­tice Wig­gins for some time.

Wig­gins, read­ers may recall, mem­o­rably defeat­ed Richard Sanders six years ago, leav­ing Tim Eyman with just one friend on the Supreme Court: Jim John­son. John­son sub­se­quent­ly chose to retire and was suc­ceed­ed by Mary Yu, one of the few jurists to have struck down an Eyman ini­tia­tive at the tri­al court lev­el.

All three jus­tices enjoy strong bar asso­ci­at­ing rat­ings.

Jus­tice Mary Yu is rat­ed “Excep­tion­al­ly Well Qual­i­fied” across the board. Jus­tice Bar­bara Mad­sen has three “Excep­tion­al­ly Well Qual­i­fied” rat­ings and one “Well Qual­i­fied” rat­ing. Jus­tice Char­lie Wig­gins, mean­while, has four “Excep­tion­al­ly Well Qual­i­fied” rat­ings and two “Well Qual­i­fied” rat­ings.

None of their oppo­nents appear to have any “Excep­tion­al­ly Well Qual­i­fied” rat­ings.

The last time the right wing in Wash­ing­ton made a major play for posi­tions on the Supreme Court was ten years ago, when the once pow­er­ful Build­ing Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton (BIAW) spent large sums of mon­ey in an attempt to knock out incum­bent Jus­tices Ger­ry Alexan­der and Susan Owens. The BIAW spent over a mil­lion dol­lars in 2006 to elect their hand­picked can­di­dates, but vot­ers resound­ing­ly returned Alexan­der and Owens to the bench for new terms.

Tom’s attack ads against Mad­sen were inef­fec­tive back in the sum­mer, but he’s evi­dent­ly con­vinced Eyman’s bene­fac­tors to give him anoth­er mas­sive pile of cash so that he can try to pick off a dif­fer­ent Supreme Court jus­tice.

Rod­ney Tom was once a state law­mak­er who worked on caus­es like ensur­ing home­own­ers vic­tim­ized by neg­li­gent con­struc­tion had access to jus­tice.

Now, like Tim Eyman, he’s a mouth­piece for right wing bil­lion­aires.

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