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.
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
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 votespush 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.
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.