Tim Eyman, the well-known Washington State anti-tax initiative crusader, recently sent one of his regular emails promoting his current effort to pass another $30 car tab initiative. Due to this author’s recent focus on campaign finance reform in Washington State, one part of his email demanded a bit more attention. It appears that Washington State’s own light rail boondoggle – Sound Transit is supporting Tim Eyman in ways nobody would predict.
Sound Transit Helps Tim Eyman with Big Dollar Support
Eyman posts what appears to be a draft campaign finance Public Disclosure form (called a “C4”) for “Voters Want More Choices,“which shows an “in-kind” contribution from Sound Transit to Eyman’s $30 Initiative Campaign. Several issues are worth noting. First, the significant size of the “in-kind” contribution – $500,000,000. This number was based on the recently disclosed budget overruns(just one of many) by Sound Transit – arguably one of the worst managed government entities in Washington State history.
Eyman points out this egregious (but very predictable) incompetence by Sound Transit is the perfect promotion for his $30 Car Tab initiative. Sound Transit proves, once again, why they should never be trusted with a dime of taxpayer dollars, and in doing so they provide more publicity and public support for Eyman’s initiative than Eyman could have afforded to purchase or achieve on his own.
Put this number in perspective – the Total amount of money spent on elections in 2016, according to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) was $144,961,627.93. This is a lot of money, but Sound Transit wasted more than three times this much money in just one of their many predictable cost “overruns.” However, there is a bigger problem for Sound Transit than just their inevitable squandering of taxpayer dollars.
Sound Transit breaks the law (I know, what else is new? but this could be serious)
It is illegal, under Washington State Law for a public agency to provide campaign support for initiatives (RCW 42.17A.555). As such, this “in-kind” contribution is not only the largest contribution in the history of the State of Washington, it also constitutes the largest violation of the campaign finance law in the history of the state.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has repeatedly touted his success with his recent campaign finance litigation against the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which resulted in a $18 million fine. (see various AG press releases here, here, and here). However, the inevitable campaign finance lawsuit against Sound Transit would result in a fine dwarfing the Grocery Manufacturers Association case and making that penalty look like chump change. The inevitable nine or ten digit fine against Sound Transit would actually be large enough to have a real impact on Washington State’s budget (of course it is all our tax dollars, but this fine would transfer funds from the bottomless pit of Sound Transit to the bottomless pit of Washington State’s General Fund).
The final due date for Eyman’s C4 paperwork is next week. Sound Transit continues to demonstrate why it is such a harmful and destructive organization, and yet they pretend to be amazed and shocked that their corruption and incompetence is exactly what Tim Eyman needs to succeed. Eyman will now have a much easier job collecting these $30 car tab signatures thanks to Sound Transit’s lavish support for the $30 car tab initiative campaign.
OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.” IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE. IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT. IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.” UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED…