Tim Eyman at the Capitol Campus
Tim Eyman at the Capitol Campus (Selfie taken by Tim Eyman)

Late in the morn­ing of Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 2nd, 2023, a curi­ous­ly word­ed email arrived in the mail­box­es of thou­sands of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans from Tim Eyman, who needs no intro­duc­tion to reg­u­lar read­ers of The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, but who could be described very sim­ply as one of Wash­ing­ton’s best-known right wing politi­cians for those new to or unfa­mil­iar with Ever­green State politics.

The email declared that Eyman had been cut off from all of his old address­es and that there was only one email address he could now be reached at, asso­ci­at­ed with the web­site set up for his legal defense fund, timdefense.com.

“You can text / email me any­time at: [num­ber redact­ed] but when it comes to email, send­ing email to [redacted]@gmail.com, [redacted]@yahoo.com, [redacted]@protonmail.com, [redacted]@comcast.net, or oth­ers means I’ll nev­er get it. Yes, it’s a pain in the arse, but it is what it is,” Eyman wrote.

He did not elab­o­rate fur­ther or explain what had caused him to lose access to his Google, Yahoo, Pro­ton, and Com­cast accounts simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.

Tim Eyman, account restricted
Tim Eyman also claimed his social net­work­ing accounts had been locked, and base­less­ly spec­u­lat­ed that Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son was to blame (Image from Tim Eyman email)

NPI looked for evi­dence of a court order or oth­er action that might explain what Eyman could pos­si­bly be refer­ring to by imply­ing that his email accounts had all been tak­en away from him, but we found noth­ing. Noth­ing at all.

There were a few oth­er inter­est­ing aspects of Eyman’s first mis­sive of 2023.

One was that this mes­sage came from a dif­fer­ent MailChimp account than the one he had been using to send his pre­vi­ous mass emails.

Anoth­er was that the mes­sage lacked a pitch for dona­tions to Eyman’s polit­i­cal com­mit­tee, Per­ma­nent Offense, which is now sup­pos­ed­ly under the juris­dic­tion of two friends of Eyman named Lar­ry Jensen and Sid Maietto.

Up until Christ­mas­time 2022, when Eyman sent his final email of the year ask­ing for mon­ey, his mis­sives had includ­ed stan­dard ver­biage from “Lar­ry & Sid” ask­ing for mon­ey for Per­ma­nent Offense. The text of that bit was:

We’re ask­ing folks to donate to our PAC so we can keep fight­ing for tax­pay­ers with Jim Wal­sh’s ini­tia­tive I‑1491, the stop all income tax­es ini­tia­tive.

The tax­pay­ers of Wash­ing­ton need our help now more than ever. Donate to our polit­i­cal com­mit­tee so we can keep fight­ing for you:

Mail your check — made payable to “Per­ma­nent Offense I‑1491” — to: Per­ma­nent Offense, PO Box 6151, Olympia, WA, 98507
Or donate online: PermanentOffense.com

Kind­est Regards,

Sid Mai­et­to & Lar­ry Jensen

Begin­ning Jan­u­ary 2nd, this appeal dis­ap­peared (Jim Wal­sh’s I‑1491 failed to qual­i­fy, hav­ing nev­er got­ten off the ground) and so did the Donate page on Per­ma­nent Offense’s web­site. If you go there, you’ll get a Page Not Found error because it has been tak­en offline. Yes, that’s right: tak­en offline!

What’s more, Per­ma­nent Offense has­n’t report­ed a sin­gle con­tri­bu­tion or expen­di­ture for all of 2023. The PDC’s web­site rolled the com­mit­tee’s reg­is­tra­tion over into 2023, but no reports have been filed this year.

The com­mit­tee end­ed 2022 with a bal­ance of $25,741.96, accord­ing to its last amend­ed C4 report, which was filed Jan­u­ary 10th, 2023. It is appar­ent­ly now inop­er­a­tive, judg­ing by the take­down of its dona­tion page and the removal of the “Lar­ry & Sid” pitch from Eyman’s emails. Eyman is still fundrais­ing, but only for him­self and his legal defense fund — not for Per­ma­nent Offense.

And unlike in recent years, Eyman isn’t try­ing to pre­tend that’s he’s doing a sig­na­ture dri­ve for a new scheme to defund pub­lic ser­vices or wreck gov­ern­ment despite not hav­ing access to wealthy bene­fac­tors will­ing to restart his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry. He’s still fil­ing ini­tia­tives by the buck­et­load — in fact, of the sev­en­ty-six ini­tia­tives filed so far this year, a whop­ping six­ty-four are his.

(Eyman likes to file mul­ti­ple sim­i­lar iter­a­tions of a scheme in the hopes of get­ting a good bal­lot title, an abu­sive prac­tice known as bal­lot title shop­ping that needs to be pro­hib­it­ed through the adop­tion of ini­tia­tive reform legislation.)

How­ev­er, Eyman isn’t pitch­ing any of these schemes in pub­lic. Every sin­gle one of his emails going back to the begin­ning of the year has con­cerned either state leg­is­la­tion or pol­i­cy at the local lev­el, like in Camas, Washington.

We have no doubt Eyman would like to return to being an ini­tia­tive pitch­man; his bal­lot title shop­ping demon­strates that he’d rather be try­ing to qual­i­fy some­thing bad to the bal­lot right now than mak­ing trips to Olympia to yell at leg­is­la­tors from the tes­ti­mo­ny table. But he can’t. And he knows he can’t.

Statewide ini­tia­tives require huge resources, and Eyman is broke.

Eyman’s ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry is no longer mere­ly idle, it has com­plete­ly crum­bled to the ground. The sec­ond incar­na­tion of his bud­dies’ cor­rupt peti­tion­ing busi­ness Cit­i­zen Solu­tions (which once han­dled his sig­na­ture dri­ves annu­al­ly) was admin­is­tra­tive­ly dis­solved by the state in 2020, his past wealthy bene­fac­tors have either passed on or aban­doned him, and he is barred by court order from fly­ing solo as a polit­i­cal com­mit­tee offi­cer with no over­sight, as he did for so many years.

Eyman tried run­ning for gov­er­nor in 2020 after he real­ized that I‑976 (his scheme to gut Sound Tran­sit and ruin mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture across Wash­ing­ton) was not going to be imple­ment­ed. But his cam­paign flopped. Vot­ers reject­ed Eyman’s can­di­da­cy and he did­n’t make it out of the Top Two.

Eyman then became a sur­ro­gate for fel­low grifter Loren Culp, who also went on to lose in 2020 along with their mutu­al idol, the insur­rec­tion­ist inciter Don­ald Trump.

After the 2020 cycle, Eyman tried a few times to get his old ini­tia­tive busi­ness rolling again, even mak­ing pub­lic pleas for new wealthy bene­fac­tors to come forth and pro­vide mon­ey for him­self, Lar­ry, and Sid to use in procur­ing sig­na­tures. Those pleas went unan­swered and Eyman’s schemes went nowhere.

After so many years of try­ing the “fake it till you make it” approach to get­ting back into the ini­tia­tives busi­ness, Eyman seems to have giv­en up.

Nei­ther I nor any­one else on our team can recall this much time hav­ing passed where Eyman was­n’t solic­it­ing mon­ey for a cam­paign, be it an ini­tia­tive he want­ed to do or his failed guber­na­to­r­i­al run. Instead of pitch­ing bad right wing stuff, Eyman is busy try­ing to get Repub­li­can PCOs and oth­er right wing activists to oppose leg­is­la­tion they don’t like in Olympia. Here’s a list of the major 2023 bills Eyman has either spo­ken against or urged his fol­low­ers to help him defeat:

  • SB 5082 / HB 1158: This is NPI’s leg­is­la­tion to repeal Eyman’s advi­so­ry votes push polls — the anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da items that auto­mat­i­cal­ly appear on Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ bal­lots if the Leg­is­la­ture does any­thing to increase rev­enue. SB 5082 received a bipar­ti­san vote in the state Sen­ate and is now mov­ing along in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives (HB 1158 was the com­pan­ion bill). Nat­u­ral­ly, Eyman is furi­ous­ly opposed to it.
  • SB 5723: This is NPI’s leg­is­la­tion to allow cities to move their reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled elec­tions to even years if they want. It’s a new idea that has got­ten a lot of inter­est; Eyman was the only per­son to speak against it. It was not con­sid­ered before cut­off and is now in the Sen­ate Rules “X” file; but it could eas­i­ly be revived in 2024 and select­ed for floor action.
  • SB 5486 / HB 1473: This is the tax on extreme wealth intro­duced by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive My-Linh Thai and Sen­a­tor Noel Frame, cham­pi­oned by EOI, NPI, the Wash­ing­ton Bud­get & Pol­i­cy Cen­ter, and a long list of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions that want to bal­ance our tax code. Though Eyman is now poor, he absolute­ly despis­es this bill, per­haps part­ly on behalf of the wealthy right wing folk that he wish­es would give him mon­ey but keep ignor­ing him.
  • SB 5284: This is leg­is­la­tion NPI has tes­ti­fied for that would update sec­tions of Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, which are col­lec­tive­ly known as Chap­ter 42.17A RCW. Eyman knows all about this sec­tion of the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton because he’s been con­vict­ed of seri­ous­ly vio­lat­ing it.
  • HB 1589: This bill would reduce the North­west­’s depen­dence on petro­le­um gas, a dirty fos­sil fuel, by bar­ring large util­i­ties like Puget Sound Ener­gy from accept­ing new res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial gas hookups after June 30th of this year. To man­age the tran­si­tion away from gas for cook­ing and heat­ing, it spec­i­fies a process for merg­ing the rate bases sup­port­ing gas and elec­tric oper­a­tions of a com­bi­na­tion util­i­ty into a sin­gle rate base.
  • HB 1389: This is a ten­ant pro­tec­tion bill that would restrict by how much land­lords can raise rents with­in a giv­en year. Specif­i­cal­ly, the bill pro­hibits, in most cas­es, “a land­lord from increas­ing the rent for a ten­an­cy sub­ject to the Res­i­den­tial Land­lord-Ten­ant Act or the Manufactured/Mobile Home Land­lord-Ten­ant Act dur­ing any 12-month peri­od in an amount greater than the rate of infla­tion as mea­sured by the Con­sumer Price Index or 3 per­cent, whichev­er is greater, up to a max­i­mum of 7 per­cent above the exist­ing rent.”
  • HB 1333: This bill would have cre­at­ed a thir­teen-mem­ber com­mis­sion on in-coun­try vio­lence extrem­ism. The bill is no longer mov­ing this ses­sion, but right wing blogs and orga­ni­za­tions have been furi­ous­ly lob­by­ing against it for weeks, denounc­ing it in the most absurd and hyber­bol­ic terms, and com­plete­ly dis­tort­ing the scope and pro­vi­sions of the leg­is­la­tion. Eyman decid­ed to join the big pile-on with gusto.
  • HB 1832: Estab­lish­es a vol­un­tary road usage charge (RUC) pro­gram that would become manda­to­ry in 2030. The goal is to replace declin­ing gas tax rev­enues as elec­tric cars replace those with inter­nal com­bus­tion engines and dri­ving decreas­es. Ore­gon has a road usage charge pilot pro­gram already with a few hun­dred active participants.
  • SB 5618: Amends Eyman’s prop­er­ty tax restrict­ing Ini­tia­tive 747 (unwise­ly rein­stat­ed by the Leg­is­la­ture and Gov­er­nor Gre­goire in a one-day spe­cial ses­sion in 2007) to stop the mea­sure from slow­ly chok­ing local gov­ern­ments to death as it has been doing for two decades.
  • HB 1628: This bill would mod­i­fy the real estate excise tax to raise more mon­ey for hous­ing. It advanced out of the Local Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee, but did­n’t get act­ed on in Finance. Spon­sored by Frank Chopp, it is sup­port­ed by the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Cities, Hous­ing Devel­op­ment Con­sor­tium, and Habi­tat for Humanity.
Tim Eyman testifying remotely
When Tim Eyman tes­ti­fies remote­ly, he often does so with a Zoom back­ground of a pic­ture of him­self, which is just… weird. (Image from a TVW clip that Eyman uploaded)

In years past, Eyman con­fined his tes­ti­fy­ing and lob­by­ing to bills con­cern­ing ini­tia­tives or which sought to raise rev­enue to fund Wash­ing­ton’s essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices. But as you can see from the list above, Eyman has become a sort of jack of all right wing caus­es lob­by­ist, weigh­ing in against rent con­trol, updates to pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, and attempts to study and mon­i­tor mil­i­tant extremism.

This is like­ly to be his role in state pol­i­tics for what­ev­er is left of his career.

No wealthy per­son has any rea­son to trust Eyman with any sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey and Eyman does­n’t have bud­dies he can fun­nel cash to for a sig­na­ture dri­ve. The Eyman ini­tia­tive error appears to be in the rearview mir­ror, hav­ing last­ed from 1998 until 2018, when Eyman raid­ed his retire­ment fund for one final sig­na­ture dri­ve that yield­ed anoth­er decep­tive ini­tia­tive, I‑976, men­tioned above.

I‑976, which our team was heav­i­ly involved in oppos­ing, was sup­posed to be a “Son of 695,” but it nev­er went into effect. After the Supreme Court struck it down, Democ­rats did not both­er try­ing to rein­state it, demon­strat­ing that at least one impor­tant les­son had been learned from the I‑695 disaster.

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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