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.

Thursday, September 9th, 2021

Tim Eyman publicly pleads with wealthy right wingers for money to revive initiative factory

Flanked by two new side­kicks, Tim Eyman stood in front of the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex this morn­ing in Olympia to make a Very Impor­tant Announce­ment: he’s ready to go back to hawk­ing destruc­tive ini­tia­tives (and would like to be hand­some­ly com­pen­sat­ed for doing so!) just as soon as possible.

Hav­ing spent a year a half inef­fec­tu­al­ly run­ning for gov­er­nor, appear­ing as a sur­ro­gate for fel­low grifter Loren Culp, and fil­ing futile law­suits against Wash­ing­ton State over Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 safe­ty mea­sures, Eyman has decid­ed it’s time to go back to what he knows and loves.

Name­ly, dup­ing peo­ple into help­ing him ensure that Wash­ing­ton State’s upside down tax code remains per­ma­nent­ly rigged in favor of the rich.

But the noto­ri­ous chair thief and ser­i­al pub­lic dis­clo­sure law offend­er has a prob­lem: he does­n’t have the mon­ey to restart the gears of his inop­er­a­tive, rust-cov­ered ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry. No wealthy patron has yet stepped for­ward to write the six-fig­ure checks Eyman requires to resume his hus­tle. And appar­ent­ly, behind-the-scenes fundrais­ing efforts have sim­ply not yield­ed any fruit.

So today, Eyman start­ed beg­ging in pub­lic. Not for small dol­lar con­tri­bu­tions, which he does all the time using his email list, but for large ones.

Osten­si­bly, his “press con­fer­ence” at the Elec­tions Annex was to announce that he is launch­ing a new ini­tia­tive to ban all income tax­es, cap­i­tal gains tax­es, and Jump­start-style employ­ment tax­es every­where in the State of Washington.

But it was unmis­tak­ably clear that the effort is total­ly unfund­ed and not going any­where unless some real­ly rich peo­ple write some real­ly big checks.

And soon.

“This is our only chance to get this crit­i­cal ini­tia­tive on the Novem­ber 2022 bal­lot,” Eyman claimed. “Ini­tia­tives to the peo­ple next year will be impossible.”

“Cal­i­for­nia and oth­er states are going to monop­o­lize paid peti­tion­ers next year. Wash­ing­ton will nev­er be able to com­pete. The dead­line for us to turn in sig­na­tures is Decem­ber 30th. The num­ber of vot­er sig­na­tures we need? 400,000. The cost for a paid sig­na­ture dri­ve that guar­an­tees this ini­tia­tive will qual­i­fy for that Novem­ber 2022 bal­lot? $2.7 mil­lion. To get that many sig­na­tures — 400,000 — in such a short time­frame (Sep­tem­ber 9th to Decem­ber 30th), we need a hand­ful of Mike Dun­mires to quick­ly step in and finance this sig­na­ture drive.”

If you just read the above and are won­der­ing what’s a Mike Dun­mire, the answer is pret­ty sim­ple: Mike Dun­mire is the name of Eyman’s all-time top wealthy bene­fac­tor, a deceased invest­ment banker who financed Eyman’s destruc­tive cons for sev­er­al con­sec­u­tive years in the ear­ly 2000s (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009).

With­out Dun­mire, Eyman’s ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry might have sput­tered to a halt, but Dun­mire kept it going by pump­ing huge sums of mon­ey into it. Dun­mire great­ly admired Eyman, and Eyman in turn was extreme­ly fond of Dun­mire. How­ev­er, even Dumire’s gen­eros­i­ty had its lim­its; he severe­ly cur­tailed his giv­ing to Eyman in the last few years of his life, forc­ing Eyman to look else­where for money.

For much of his career as an ini­tia­tive pitch­man, Eyman has tried to pre­tend to be a pop­ulist head­ing a sort of cit­i­zen-dri­ven “tax revolt” move­ment, when in fact, he is sim­ply a front­man for super­rich peo­ple who don’t want to be required to pay their fair share in tax­es. But today, in a refresh­ing bit of can­dor, Eyman most­ly dis­pensed with such false pre­tens­es and plead­ed open­ly for any right wing bil­lion­aires who might be lis­ten­ing to take pity on him and become his patrons.

“We need suc­cess­ful folks who are will­ing to break open their pig­gy banks.”

“Some of you can be a Mike Dun­mire for this crit­i­cal effort. Many of you are friends with some Mike Dun­mires. Please help us con­nect with those peo­ple,” Eyman beseeched his fol­low­ers. (A grand total of five peo­ple were then watch­ing the Face­book livestream, accord­ing to a screen cap­ture I saved.)

“For us to have any chance of qual­i­fy­ing for the bal­lot means rais­ing a lot of mon­ey,” Eyman reit­er­at­ed a few min­utes later.

“I’m doing every­thing I can to pro­mote this ini­tia­tive. To talk to all the Mike Dun­mires that I know. They know some Mike Dun­mires,” Eyman added, ges­tur­ing to his side­kicks Sid and Lar­ry. “We are not Mike Dun­mires. We are good guys will­ing to work hard, but we are not Mike Dunmires.”

“We need Mike Dun­mires to step up — sig­nif­i­cant­ly and quick­ly — if we have any chance of qual­i­fy­ing this to the ballot.” 

Empha­sis is mine. Again, “Mike Dun­mire” is Eymanspeak for rich peo­ple with megabucks who can make me rel­e­vant again. Whether or not this con becomes an actu­al threat we have to wor­ry about or not is entire­ly con­tin­gent upon whether any bil­lion­aires answer Eyman’s call, as he him­self admitted.

It’s worth not­ing that the last two right wing bil­lion­aires who trust­ed Eyman (Clyde Hol­land and Ken­neth Fish­er) got burned twice: first when they financed a 2015 mea­sure that Eyman had assured them would hold up in court but then did­n’t (I‑1366), and then again the fol­low­ing year when Eyman used more of their mon­ey in an attempt to intim­i­date Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors into doing his bid­ding.

NPI and Wash­ing­to­ni­ans For Eth­i­cal Gov­ern­ment caught Eyman in the act of run­ning an ille­gal inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture against those Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors and filed a com­plaint with the PDC, which prompt­ly found Eyman guilty and for­ward­ed the case to Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son for legal action. The case end­ed in default sev­er­al years lat­er, result­ing in sig­nif­i­cant fines for Eyman.

We will be ready to respond again if Eyman and his pals suc­ceed in get­ting this new con fund­ed. If they don’t, it will implode on its own launch­pad, which would be the best out­come for every­body, Eyman’s fol­low­ers includ­ed, who stand to ben­e­fit from a more pro­gres­sive tax code just like all oth­er Washingtonians.

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