My proudest achievement with initiatives: beating Bob Ferguson in court & saving the initiative process from legislative sabotage. My 18th initiative. This is a very inspiring war story — I urge you to read it.
Sun, July 9, 2023
To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state
(cc’d to the media, house & senate members, and Governor, and other candidates for office)
From: Tim Eyman
Fighting for Taxpayers for 26 years
In 2003, I helped qualify an initiative to shrink the size of the King County Council from 13 politicians to 9.
I wasn’t the sponsor, but I was the spokesperson for the campaign.
We were given 90 days to get the signatures, but the government, through lawsuits and delays, cut that time in half.
Nonetheless, in 45 days, over 71,000 King County voters signed petitions that said “reduce the Council now.”
But before the public had the chance to vote on it, the Council got “creative” and changed the initiative, delaying its implementation a full 2 years.
That’s not what appeared on the petitions that 71,000 King County voters had signed onto.
The actual sponsors of the initiative were OK with the delay and gave it their blessing.
But I saw the dangerous legal precedent it set (allowing the government to change what an initiative does before the voters had the chance to vote on it) so I took it upon myself to sue the King County Council for doing something that I thought was clearly unconstitutional.
The judge agreed and put the unchanged initiative on the ballot.
And voters passed it and the Council was reduced immediately.
4 politicians were now out of a job.
I was very proud of that achievement.
Because it protected the local initiative process from interference by politicians.
Fast forward 15 years, and history repeated itself.
In 2018, a liberal group sponsored an initiative.
After many months of work, 360,000 voters signed petitions and qualified it for a public vote.
But once again, the Legislature got “creative” and changed the initiative and then blocked the people from voting on it.
Again, the sponsors were OK with the changes and gave it their blessing.
But as an initiative activist, I was not only offended by it, I was enraged by it.
Because Attorney General Bob Ferguson was defending their sabotage of the process.
Those 360,000 voters who signed petitions demanded that the law as written on those petitions should be voted on, not some bastardized version of it.
So I filed a lawsuit against Bob Ferguson:
You can read my entire complaint here.
My favorite excerpt:
One of the Democrats who voted to do this actually said: “I think it (the Legislature’s change) takes precedence over what the Constitution says about initiatives.”
No, it didn’t.
And it’s important to remember that all this was happening right in the middle of Ferguson going after me and my family.
He wanted me to be distracted and make me unable to respond to this attack.
But I knew (like I did in 2003) what a dangerous precedent this would have set if not challenged.
So I sued.
And thankfully, the lower court judge went against Ferguson:
Bob Ferguson was furious because his loss was so personally humiliating.
He just lost in court against the same guy he was persecuting.
Wounded by the loss, he appealed to the state supreme court hoping they’d save his reputation.
Before that High Court hearing, I said:
Despite Ferguson’s best efforts, days later the state supreme court ruled against him too.
So the Constitution, the lower court & high court, and I beat Ferguson.
We managed to re-empower the voters and allow them to vote on the initiative.
But even more important than that, this saved the initiative process.
Because if they had gotten away with it — if Ferguson had won — then there wouldn’t be an initiative process in Washington state anymore.
I often talk about how we, working together, have successfully gotten 17 statewide initiatives on the ballot and voters have passed 11 of them and they’ve saved taxpayers over $60.1 billion.
But the fact of the matter is my lawsuit successfully let the voters decide on an 18th initiative.
And voters passed that one too (making it the 12th initiative approved by voters).
The irony, of course, is that I didn’t sponsor it and I didn’t vote for it.
For decades, I’ve been fighting to defend the initiative process for everyone.
Because without it, there would be scores of initiative laws that never would’ve seen the light of day.
Now you know why Bob Ferguson is so obsessed with imposing a lifetime ban on all my future political activity.
Last August, when the AG stripped me of my person-hood, took my home, and drained all my bank accounts (I was allowed to keep $1500), things shifted from REALLY WANTING help to DESPERATELY NEEDING help.
I urge you to help me survive this by donating to the Tim Eyman Legal Defense Fund TODAY!
Mail your check to: Tim Eyman Legal Defense Fund, 17404 Meridian Ave E #F PMB 176, Puyallup, WA, 98375
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