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, November 20th, 2017

Lawbreaker Tim Eyman accuses Bob Ferguson of “personally profiting” from suing Donald Trump’s regime in his latest plea for money

For most of the past two decades, dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman has been will­ful­ly and bla­tant­ly vio­lat­ing Wash­ing­ton State’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, mak­ing a mock­ery of the cam­paign finance mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem estab­lished by the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton to shine a spot­light on mon­ey in pol­i­tics. And for almost as long, Eyman has avoid­ed being held account­able for his law­break­ing.

But that changed last year when Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s cam­paign finance unit began act­ing on a series of com­plaints against Eyman referred to his office by Wash­ing­to­ni­ans For Eth­i­cal Gov­ern­ment, Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling, and the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion. The state has now filed a total of four law­suits against Eyman as a result of the com­plaints, the most promi­nent of which is in response to an egre­gious case of con­ceal­ment dat­ing back to the sum­mer of 2012.

All of Eyman’s legal woes are entire­ly self-inflict­ed (mean­ing they could have eas­i­ly been avoid­ed through sound book­keep­ing and com­pli­ance prac­tices), but you would­n’t know that from read­ing Eyman’s end­less fundrais­ing appeals.

Eyman has no occu­pa­tion oth­er than ped­dling destruc­tive, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al ini­tia­tives, so he has to be in fundrais­ing mode all of the time to keep the mon­ey rolling in. In the past, his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry has been a lucra­tive source of income. But now that his law­break­ing is catch­ing up with him, it’s become a lia­bil­i­ty.

Since he had­n’t planned on being held account­able for his crooked ways, Eyman is now fever­ish­ly try­ing to raise mon­ey for his legal defense via direct mail in addi­tion to buck­rak­ing elec­tron­i­cal­ly for Ini­tia­tive 947, his lat­est assault on Sound Tran­sit, which he wants to get on the 2018 bal­lot.

Ril­ing up gullible right wingers is Eyman’s pre­ferred way of reel­ing in the Ben­jamins, so he almost always crafts his fundrais­ing appeals around a foil or vil­lain. Usu­al­ly, the foil is an elect­ed offi­cial like Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, Sen­a­tor-elect Man­ka Dhin­gra, or Sno­homish Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dave Somers.

In this case, the foil is Bob Fer­gu­son, because it is Fer­gu­son who is respon­si­ble for bring­ing cas­es against law­break­ers like Eyman as Attor­ney Gen­er­al.

In his first legal defense solic­i­ta­tion, sent back in June, Eyman described him­self as the vic­tim of a “stun­ning witch hunt” by Fer­gu­son.

“It’s a stun­ning witch hunt that’s been going on for a while,” wrote Eyman. “For the past five years, the AG has been inves­ti­gat­ing me and it has been incred­i­bly stress­ful, bur­den­some, and cost­ly to me and my fam­i­ly.”

It’s worth not­ing that Fer­gu­son’s office did­n’t actu­al­ly start inves­ti­gat­ing Eyman’s ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry until two years ago, when the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion unan­i­mous­ly vot­ed to refer the afore­men­tioned egre­gious case of con­ceal­ment to his office for fol­low-up and poten­tial action.

The Com­mis­sion con­clud­ed — after hav­ing inves­ti­gat­ed an August 2012 com­plaint filed by Taco­ma-based activist Sher­ry Bock­winkel — that Eyman and his asso­ciates had com­mit­ted mul­ti­ple, seri­ous vio­la­tions of the law.

Six months elapsed fol­low­ing the sub­mis­sion of the com­plaint before the PDC con­firmed its intent to an open an inves­ti­ga­tion, then anoth­er thir­ty months went by before PDC staff pre­sent­ed their find­ings to the Com­mis­sion.

Since this back­sto­ry con­tra­dicts Eyman’s per­se­cu­tion nar­ra­tive, Eyman left it out of his fundrais­ing solic­i­ta­tion, opt­ing instead to false­ly tell the recip­i­ents of his let­ter that he has been under the cloud of an AG inves­ti­ga­tion for five years.

If that were real­ly true, then the inves­ti­ga­tion Eyman says has been so stress­ful, bur­den­some, and cost­ly to him would have begun under the aus­pices of Repub­li­can Rob McKen­na, as McKen­na was still Attor­ney Gen­er­al back in 2012.

Last week, Eyman fol­lowed up with a sec­ond legal defense fund solic­i­ta­tion in which he took his crit­i­cism of Fer­gu­son to a whole ‘nother lev­el, hav­ing appar­ent­ly fig­ured there was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to cash in on Repub­li­can irri­ta­tion with Fer­gu­son. The enig­mat­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al, who won reelec­tion in a land­slide, has been fil­ing suit against Don­ald Trump and his regime every time his team con­cludes that Trump has bro­ken the law or run afoul of the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion.

Page one of a solicitation from Tim Eyman for his legal defense

A copy of Tim Eyman’s sec­ond legal defense solic­i­ta­tion (with home address redact­ed). Click image to view in high­er res­o­lu­tion.

“Aren’t you sick and tired of Demo­c­rat [sic] Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son forc­ing tax­pay­ers to pay for his run for Gov­er­nor in 2020 by fil­ing almost dai­ly law­suits against our Pres­i­dent, an old woman who did­n’t want to do the flow­ers for a gay wed­ding, a high school foot­ball coach who prayed after games, numer­ous busi­ness own­ers, and me?,” Eyman wrote. “Fer­gu­son’s clear­ly try­ing to impress lib­er­al vot­ers by suing con­ser­v­a­tives. His tax­pay­er-fund­ed law­suits allow him to con­stant­ly pro­mote him­self in news­pa­pers, radio, and TV. It’s a bla­tant abuse of pow­er.”

Eyman also char­ac­ter­ized Fer­gu­son as attempt­ing to “per­son­al­ly prof­it off of his per­se­cu­tion of me” — an accu­sa­tion echoed in an email Eyman sent to his fol­low­ers and reporters the same day his solic­i­ta­tion began land­ing in mail­box­es, which includ­ed a copy of this sto­ry pub­lished by The News Tri­bune of Taco­ma.

Unusu­al­ly, that email did not con­clude with a plea for mon­ey as Eyman’s emails ordi­nar­i­ly do. The email instead sim­ply end­ed in a ques­tion posed to Eyman’s fol­low­ers (“What are your thoughts on this?”)

The solic­i­ta­tion, how­ev­er, end­ed with a very per­son­al, anx­ious appeal for mon­ey along with Eyman’s home address and an instruc­tion to pay by check.

“I know you may have already donat­ed to me this year, but in light of our court vic­to­ry and the result­ing increase in legal costs, I must ask you again to please help me with my legal defense fund (FYI — dona­tions to legal defense funds are con­sid­ered part of attor­ney-client priv­i­lege and thus are anony­mous and not pub­licly report­ed). I hope you can help me dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time,” Eyman wrote.

It is tru­ly absurd that a man who has long per­son­al­ly prof­it­ed from pol­i­tics would have the gall to crit­i­cize some­one else for alleged­ly doing the same thing.

Any­one who knows Bob Fer­gu­son (as I do) knows Fer­gu­son does­n’t bring law­suits out of a desire for fame or for­tune. He brings them in order to see that the rule of law and our plan of gov­ern­ment are upheld. It is job as the chief legal offi­cer of the state to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion and the laws of the State of Wash­ing­ton… a job he takes very seri­ous­ly and is paid $160,989 a year (as of 09/01/2017) to do.

When Fer­gu­son’s office was tasked with defend­ing Tim Eyman’s hostage-tak­ing, bla­tant­ly uncon­sti­tu­tion­al I‑1366 in court last year, his office put forth its best effort, earn­ing lav­ish pub­lic praise from Eyman in the process.

The state lost the case and I‑1366 was struck down, but that was expect­ed: I‑1366 was uncon­sti­tu­tion­al every way to Sun­day. Still, Fer­gu­son had a duty under the law to defend I‑1366, and he did not shirk from that duty.

Fer­gu­son has repeat­ed­ly stat­ed through­out this year that no one is above the law, not even the Pres­i­dent. If Don­ald Trump won’t vol­un­tar­i­ly fol­low the Con­sti­tu­tion, then Bob Fer­gu­son will go to court to com­pel him to, as many times as nec­es­sary. Are Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers appre­cia­tive? No doubt, just as Repub­li­can vot­ers were hap­py when Fer­gu­son’s pre­de­ces­sor Rob McKen­na joined a mul­ti-state law­suit against the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act back when he had the job.

Eyman nev­er com­plained that McKen­na was using tax­pay­er-fund­ed law­suits (or the pletho­ra of “pub­lic ser­vice announce­ments” McKen­na record­ed) to bol­ster his name recog­ni­tion pri­or to run­ning for gov­er­nor in 2012. (And that’s because Eyman sub­scribes to the IOKIYAR doc­trine… It’s Okay If You’re A Repub­li­can.)

Unlike Fer­gu­son, Eyman has nev­er run for or held pub­lic office, and does­n’t seem to under­stand that not every­one is in pol­i­tics for self­ish rea­sons like he is.

There is arguably no one in Wash­ing­ton State who bet­ter per­son­i­fies greed than Tim Eyman. Those who had sus­pect­ed that Eyman was a lying, cheat­ing con artist were proved right when Eyman was infa­mous­ly caught siphon­ing large sums of mon­ey out of his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry for his own per­son­al use in ear­ly 2002.

After admit­ting that he had lied what he claimed he was­n’t raid­ing his cam­paign funds to pay him­self, Eyman declared, on the record, to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press: “I want con­tin­ue to advo­cate issues and I want to make a lot of mon­ey doing it.”

Eyman pro­ceed­ed to begin open­ly pay­ing him­self out of his cam­paign funds and also rais­ing mon­ey for a “com­pen­sa­tion fund” on an annu­al basis.

But Eyman want­ed more… and he fig­ured out how to get it.

Thanks to the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion’s inves­ti­ga­tion of that egre­gious case of con­ceal­ment I men­tioned ear­li­er, we now know for a fact that Eyman received secret kick­backs from the com­pa­ny he used to con­tract with for sig­na­ture dri­ves — Roy Ruffi­no and Eddie Agazarm’s “Cit­i­zen Solu­tions”. That enabled Eyman to prof­it twice from every cam­paign: once from the salary he took as com­pen­sa­tion for his efforts, and again via the secret kick­backs received through his bud­dy Eddie.

Eyman’s prof­i­teer­ing mind­set explains his absurd char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Fer­gu­son as a prof­i­teer. To Eyman, pol­i­tics is a means to an end: get­ting rich.

Eyman likes win­ning and also get­ting on tele­vi­sion, but whether he wins or not, he still per­son­al­ly prof­its from ped­dling ini­tia­tives. It’s been very lucra­tive for him.

Were Eyman the Attor­ney Gen­er­al, his focus would be on fig­ur­ing out how to per­son­al­ly prof­it from hold­ing the posi­tion… of that, I have no doubt.

Eyman sees Fer­gu­son rais­ing mon­ey for his cam­paign in the wake of the law­suits he’s been fil­ing (par­tic­u­lar­ly against Trump) and fig­ures that’s Fer­gu­son try­ing to line his pock­ets… because that’s what Eyman would be doing.

But Bob Fer­gu­son is not in pol­i­tics to exploit peo­ple and get rich. I know this because I know Bob Fer­gu­son. He believes in the same val­ues I do: free­dom, mutu­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, empa­thy, pros­per­i­ty, inclu­sion.

Bob Fer­gu­son is some­one who takes a very dim view of the kind of behav­ior we see from Eyman. It’s why he has pri­or­i­tized enforce­ment of the state’s cam­paign finance laws as Attor­ney Gen­er­al. When a cit­i­zen com­plaint comes along, the cam­paign finance unit inves­ti­gates it. If it has mer­it and the vio­la­tions appear to be severe enough, state attor­neys file an action in Supe­ri­or Court.

Eyman isn’t the only one who has been sued. Fer­gu­son’s cam­paign finance unit has gone after the Gro­cery Man­u­fac­tur­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (and won a record judg­ment against them), the Free­dom Foun­da­tion, and the Port of Taco­ma, as well as can­di­dates and local par­ty orga­ni­za­tions affil­i­at­ed with both major par­ties.

Eyman knows full well that Fer­gu­son’s office has com­menced lit­i­ga­tion against many Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty orga­ni­za­tions and some of the state’s most promi­nent unions for fail­ing to ful­ly com­ply with the state’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, because his pal Glen Mor­gan is behind the com­plaints that led to most of those law­suits.

The defen­dants in many of these cas­es have nego­ti­at­ed set­tle­ments with the cam­paign finance unit to avert cost­ly legal bat­tles.

But Eyman does­n’t want to set­tle. What Eyman wants is to escape account­abil­i­ty for his past law­break­ing so he can con­tin­ue to break the law in the future. Accord­ing­ly, Eyman’s response to Fer­gu­son’s inves­ti­ga­tion and the law­suits Fer­gu­son has filed has been to stonewall, obfus­cate, and delay. At every turn.

As we saw last year when courts in Thurston and Sno­homish coun­ties ordered Eyman and com­pa­ny to pay for obstruct­ing the AG’s inves­ti­ga­tion, there is a cost to these tac­tics, and that’s why Eyman is solic­it­ing funds for legal defense.

Eyman and his attor­ney Mark Lamb have done every­thing they can to put off Eyman’s day of reck­on­ing for as long as pos­si­ble, pre­sum­ably to give Eyman more time to regain the rel­e­vance he has lost by get­ting some­thing on the bal­lot.

Lamb and Eyman would love to depose Fer­gu­son as part of their coun­ter­suit against the state’s main case against Eyman for pub­lic dis­clo­sure law vio­la­tions.

Their efforts so far to depose Fer­gu­son have been quashed, but they haven’t giv­en up on the idea yet. Eyman is so enam­ored with the idea of depos­ing Fer­gu­son that he talks about it in his fundrais­ing solic­i­ta­tion as if it’s an immi­nent devel­op­ment.

It is not, but that does­n’t mat­ter to Eyman. The truth is sim­ply not impor­tant to him. It nev­er has been. What is impor­tant is fig­ur­ing out how to stay in busi­ness so Eyman can con­tin­ue to part fools from their mon­ey for years to come.

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One Comment

  1. Go away, Tim. We’ve had enough of your greedy ini­tia­tives.

    # by Jamey Cruse :: December 12th, 2017 at 11:27 AM