Fantastic article about I-976 victory, Ferguson’s attacks, and the power of persistence.
They spent $5 million attacking Tim Eyman, and all they got was a lousy campaign finance complaint
Eyman has been persecuted with the full power of the state. Public statements by Ferguson that he “would never settle” with Eyman, and other absurdities have abounded in this personal vendetta drama. Eyman has filed for bankruptcy, experienced divorce, and been hammered relentlessly by a multi-million dollar campaign to destroy him conducted by the full force of the State of Washington with the express and obvious goal of denying his ability to ever participate in the initiative process again. In the middle of all this chaos, despite what must be tremendous personal pressure, Eyman pulled off this victory against all the odds. It is really unbelievable.
By Glen Morgan, WeTheGoverned.com, November 6, 2019
Tim Eyman and his daughter – speaking to the media election night in Bellevue, Washington – November 5, 2019
Tim Eyman, always promoting
Washington State’s election this year forced the media to focus on one guy, and his name wasn’t on the ballot. Many voters didn’t realize it, however, because his name was on more political mailers, signs, and tv ads than any politician in the state running for office. Yet, the well-funded, bizarre personal attacks on the “initiative king” Tim Eyman seems only to have guaranteed the success of his most recent initiative – to reduce Washington State’s vehicle license tabs back to $30. As of right now, this initiative is winning with 56% support.
Despite squandering $5 million attacking Eyman by name with a deluge of mailers, flooding the media with ads attacking Eyman, and even promoting Tim Eyman on every campaign sign, all the well-funded opponents had to show for wasting these funds was an election loss and a complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) for willfully concealing the names of their top 5 corporate donors from the public in millions of dollars of campaign mailings.
It was worth it for the businesses to purchase good will from the political establishment and to virtue signal that they were down with the struggle against the Tim Eyman boogeyman.
Just another elitist politician who the voters ignored
The City of Olympia even decided to overtly and flagrantly violate Washington’s campaign finance laws by using tax payer dollars to mail out a “vote no on I-976” card to all the registered voters in the city. Yep, I filed a complaint on that one too.
The City of Olympia illegally spent tax dollars to urge voters to vote No on I-976
The fact that the entire political, corporate, media, and bureaucratic establishment of Washington state opposed this initiative, and it passed overwhelmingly despite that opposition should be a clear message to the “smart set” in the state that something is broken and the voters don’t believe or trust them.
When Eyman went to the Seattle City Council to speak against their resolution to oppose I-976, he was surrounded by signs with his name on them
Eyman’s successful effort to reduce the state’s car tabs to $30 is not the problem. Tim Eyman is not the problem. The problem is the political elite, the aloof and untouchable bureaucracy, the ever shrinking legacy media, and the moneyed interests that support and profit from them are out of touch with the average voter in Washington state.
Tim Eyman, his daughter, and supporters faced the media on election night
The original $30 car tab initiative passed in 1999 only repealed the state’s car tab tax – it didn’t limit local government vehicle fees. Of course, local governments were piling on and collecting more cash via car tab fees. It was free money for them. So, in 2002, Eyman followed up the 1999 success with another $30 car tab initiative (I-776) which repealed taxes and fees imposed by local governments. It passed as well. Although it received 51% of voter, it actually carried 35 of 39 counties.
Eyman’s opponents made it all about him. Eyman is their boogeyman.
Of course, as with any time the people resist the bloat of bureaucracy, the politicians and special interests worked out techniques and ways around the law to keep finding new methods to milk the cash cow of voters in Washington State by tacking on new taxes to the car tabs. Like barnacles on a ship sitting too long in Puget Sound, these taxes were starting to pile on and appear on everyone’s car tab bills. This was particularly true in the King County area where Washington state’s own light rail boondoggle – called Sound Transit – found a way to gerrymander and command a special premium to support their subsidized tax scheme to squander billions. Voters were annoyed.
Eyman made several failed attempts to sweep off the tax barnacles that had built up. Finally, in 2018, he and his wife emptied their retirement fund and put $500,000 of their own money into the cause (money they may never see again), and they qualified I-976 for the ballot. This was the initiative that overwhelmingly passed by a significant fraud-proof (even with King County’s questionable vote fraud reputation) margin. Nobody can claim that Eyman isn’t persistent.
Eyman sometimes wears a suit while showing his displeasure with tax bills. In this case, he is standing beside former Governor Gregoire in 2009.
Outside observers might think that over the past 20 years, even the tone-deaf politicians, bureaucrats, editorial boards, and other leaders of Washington state would be able to understand voters intent on this issue. Yeah, it turns out voters really do want $30 car tabs. Of course, instead of opposing the initiative on policy grounds, the tone-deaf out-of-touch elite threw a fit and made this an initiative about Tim Eyman. Normally, I would ignore the personal vendetta and focus on the fact that people wanted $30 car tabs. However, the foolish campaign to make this about one guy who is not on the ballot made the opponents of $30 car tabs look foolish and ignorant. This also has turned Eyman, for all his imperfections, troubles, and woes into a hero of the normal people who just want to be left alone by the clowns who claim to rule them.
Governor Jay Inslee is no stranger to stupid statements
Even Governor Inslee, no stranger to stupid statements, recently was quoted in the Kitsap Sun, saying he had a super secret plan to solve homelessness, but he wouldn’t be able to unveil his wisdom or secret sauce plans unless Eyman’s initiative was defeated.
The politicians, bureaucrats, editorial boards, and Mega PACs made this whole thing about Eyman, claiming “Eyman is the only one who supports I-976.” In reality, far more than half the voters of this state side with Eyman over the established, wealthy elite.
The continuing battles of Tim Eyman – Revenge of the Sith Lord Ferguson
AG Bob Ferguson appears to use his office to persecute Tim Eyman, sue Donald Trump, and protect his political allies and donors
Most of the time, over the past few years, Eyman’s name has been in the papers as part of the Washington State Attorney General’s multimillion dollar, seven-year effort to destroy him and prevent him from ever participating in the political process again. The greatest crime Eyman has committed is a crime against bureaucracy – he has saved the taxpayers of this state over $40 billion (and counting) of taxes which otherwise could have been squandered by the politicians, bureaucrats, and the recipients of their tax largess. For this crime, there would never be forgiveness. Eyman has upset the gravy train numerous times over the past 20 years, and the pigs feeding at the trough are angry. It was inevitable that they would extract their revenge.
The Sith Lord in this story is Bob Ferguson, who, when he isn’t wasting taxpayer dollars on endless virtue-signaling lawsuits against Donald Trump (35 so far or is it 36?), has decided to dedicate the power of the state to destroy Tim Eyman. The most recent legal battles against Tim Eyman in court began as a campaign finance violation with some of the PACs Tim Eyman managed in the past.
Theoretically, the law is applied equally. Nobody believes that, and the AG proves this prosecutorial bias with his actions.
AG Ferguson realizes he can use taxpayer funds as a powerful tool to persecute his political enemies and protect his political allies.
In 2016 and 2017, I forced the AG to sue 19 political allies and friends in Washington state by using Washington state’s campaign finance laws at the time – most specifically the Citizen Action Notice requirements (the law was changed in 2018 as HB 2938 AKA “The Stop Glen Morgan Bill”). The AG at the time, had just finished suing Republican Kim Wyman in the middle of her 2016 election for far less significant violations than most of the violations I had exposed. The AG was also devoting the full resources of the state to bankrupt Tim Eyman and destroy his ability to ever be politically active again – deposing his wife, deposing every large donor, discovery requests never intended to be fulfilled, endless press releases, full televised press conferences, massive motion practice (over 1000 so far), using the bankruptcy process as the sole creditor to prevent Eyman from hiring attorneys, etc. A scorched earth legal campaign unlike any other campaign ever conducted by the AG’s office against any individual in the history of the state.
Eyman has often been forced to be his own attorney due to the way the AG’s office has prevented him from paying any attorneys who he might hire.
The AG’s office was very annoyed that I used the law to expose equivalent violations being committed by some of his political allies, donors and supporters (they were also annoyed that I caught him breaking the campaign finance laws too). The AG was forced to sue but all these lawsuits were conducted with pat-a-cake style settlements, payment plans, no discovery, minimal motion practice, few if any press releases, and in some cases, Bob Ferguson even helped the violators raise funds during the investigation process so they could pay the wrist slap fines.
Even if Eyman did violate the campaign finance laws of Washington state, he wasn’t treated like all of the many friends and donors of AG Bob Ferguson who also violated those same laws. Instead, only Tim Eyman has been persecuted with the full power of the state. Public statements by Ferguson that he “would never settle” with Eyman, and other absurdities have abounded in this personal vendetta drama. Eyman has filed for bankruptcy, experienced divorce, and been hammered relentlessly by a multi-million dollar campaign to destroy him conducted by the full force of the State of Washington with the express and obvious goal of denying his ability to ever participate in the initiative process again. In the middle of all this chaos, despite what must be tremendous personal pressure, Eyman pulled off this victory against all the odds.
It is really unbelievable.
Eyman might dress up in an orange jumpsuit to make a point, but there is clearly a desire of the political elite to make this his future dress code
I don’t think Eyman is perfect. Nobody is. Most political activists are flawed people in some way or another. Eyman has made mistakes. Plenty of them. However, Eyman’s status as a superstar activist is almost entirely a creation of the outsized and absurd attacks on one guy, and the weird delusions by the political elite about him have only served to increase his reputation as a slayer of dragons. The election results only make the reputation grow even larger. Imagine what Eyman could achieve if he wasn’t being tortured by the AG’s office? Imagine what he could do if he had plenty of funding to do it without throwing away his retirement fund?