The State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s creepy persecution of Tim Eyman is not over, but Thurston County Superior Court Judge Dixon has rubber stamped the AG’s desires which encourages the state to continue to persecute others.
Washington State’s Creepy Persecution of Tim Eyman
By Glen Morgan
I was in the Thurston County Courtroom listening to Superior Court Judge Dixon announce his ruling (full video linked here) against Tim Eyman two weeks ago. Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson appears to have successfully completed the first stage of his eight-year effort to destroy initiative activist Tim Eyman. However, it is still worth studying the Eyman drama, this case, and understanding how it matters to the rest of Washington State. Ultimately, this story is not about Tim Eyman the activist so much as it is about the abuse of political power, the disintegration of equal protection under the law, and the corruption of the decaying Washington State legal system.
For the first time in American history, as far as I know, a person has been defined by the state as a walking, talking Political Action Committee. Not an activist, not an officer of a PAC, but a PAC itself. This was just one part of a very disturbed ruling by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Dixon which reads like a rubber stamped, cut-and-paste ruling written by Attorney General Bob Ferguson himself. The judge’s signature was just the afterthought and formality of the event. The ruling can be found linked here. While former Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders did an admirable job defending Mr. Eyman and pointing out the obvious legal flaws and logical problems with this prosecution (see video of Sander’s closing argument here), one would never know a defense was even made looking at the final ruling. Judge Dixon did exactly what AG Ferguson told him to do, and Judge Dixon dutifully ignored everything the State told him to ignore. Fortunately for Mr. Eyman, the State didn’t ask for Eyman’s public execution, because Dixon would have granted that as well. After reading the ruling, it is hard to pretend anyone involved in drafting this document is aware the 1st Amendment or Free Speech actually exists in Washington State at all, even if only as a theory rather than a right.
For many years, Eyman wanted to push this case to the point of a decision. The State was able to bully Eyman’s previous attorney Joel Ard off the case in 2018 when Eyman was forced into bankruptcy. Eyman even tried desperately to default on the case so that he could get to some decision. Judge Dixon wouldn’t allow Eyman to default either because the State objected to that. The process was the punishment, and both AG Ferguson and Judge Dixon wanted the punishment to continue. Now Eyman has a formal decision written by the AG and signed by one of the AG’s pet judges at the court.
Legal appeal is almost certain, and this drama has many years to go before the final chapter is written. Eyman will lose his home (where his ex-wife and children live). He was already bankrupted by this process (the State and his attorneys are the only creditors), so whatever assets he may possess are essentially forfeit too. He lost his marriage. His financial supporters have been browbeat, threatened, and harassed for years now. His future path as a political activist appears to be very restricted and limited, regardless of the brave face he puts out there. A $2.6 million non-dischargeable (he can’t bankrupt out of it) judgement will do this to most people. Of course, while Bob Ferguson laments to the Seattle Times that Eyman’s obituary is too premature (see here), judging by the commentary surrounding Eyman and forces arrayed against him, Eyman’s death is all that will stop his persecution by the State.
Tim Eyman has a thicker skin than most, and he takes the hatred, persecution and personal setbacks in stride. In fact, their hatred seems to encourage him. When I interviewed Eyman, he appears determined to proceed with his passion of political activism in spite of the obsessive political persecution he has experienced.
Summary of the case
I’ll go into far more detail and background below, but the essential elements of this case are as follows. Eyman was accused of violating Washington State’s campaign finance reporting laws (See RCW 42.17A). Specifically, the primary argument was that one of his vendors was overpaid for signature gathering costs and in turn they paid Eyman a consulting fee. Additionally, there was a claim that Eyman shifted some funds from one initiative effort into another initiative effort. While there was some dispute that these transactions needed to be reported (I’ve never seen either Republican or Democrat consultants report the use of similar payments or expenses even though I know they all make similar, common transactions), the basic gist of the case was that Eyman failed to report these transactions to the Public Disclosure Commission back in 2012. Mostly, this is plain vanilla campaign finance reporting violation arguments and fights. However, Eyman’s case gets weird and totally goes off the sanity reservation after these elements which triggered the primary legal drama.
The weirdest part about this litigation against Eyman by the AG’s office was their novel theories invented exclusively for Eyman as this case progressed (thanks to Judge Dixon, any novel effort or claim by the AG was automatically accepted as fact on its face). Specifically, it appears Eyman was raising funds for himself, independent of his campaign fundraising. This started years ago, apparently around 2013 or so when he realized the AG would be coming after him as part of Ferguson’s political vendetta. Since Eyman and I were often at the same events, I remember Eyman making these appeals to people and very clearly raising money for himself personally. Since he wasn’t in court on this issue yet at that time (he was being investigated by the Public Disclosure Commission), I didn’t realize back then why he was raising those funds, and how important those monies would be for him in the future. This was prudent planning on his part because these funds built up over the years and totaled over $700,000. Yet this was still not enough to cover all his legal costs once the AG started the full court persecution process. In Washington State, the AG’s persecution process itself is the punishment, particularly in a place like Thurston County which puts no restrictions on the State’s ability to abuse and destroy private citizens. Eyman got more abusive attention and malicious prosecution by AG Bob Ferguson than anyone else in state history.
The State was angry that Eyman did not report the money he raised for himself, outside the initiative process, and they claimed that THOSE funds should also be reported to the PDC. This was a bizarre direction to go because no party, no treasurer, and no political activist would have counted those as campaign contributions. It would have been illegal to report them as such since they clearly were not intended to be spent on any political campaign. The State has never interpreted the law this way in the past, and only a corrupted Thurston County judge would accept that legal theory. Every consultant in the state has violated this law if this was a real ruling meant to apply equally to all, but it will never be applied to them – at least if they are aligned with the Left-leaning Progressive causes. So, the State pretended that Eyman was a walking, talking PAC, and therefore all the money he raised and sent to his attorneys was not reported and was late. Since these reports are now years late, Eyman gets a massive fine for not reporting funds that no honest, literate, or sane person would have reported in the first place.
I am impressed by Eyman’s ability over the years to fundraise. I confess, I am also impressed by Eyman’s ability to qualify initiatives for the ballot – 17 of them, with 11 passing by the voters. His anti-tax initiatives have saved the voters of Washington State over $46 billion which the State would have squandered on their usual collection of grant grifting scams and bloated bureaucracy. Anyone even tangentially familiar with Eyman knows that he is a bundle of energy and a salesperson who never stops promoting his cause. He is an activist. He is a fundraiser. He is hardly a PAC, yet here he is, and the court fined him $2.6 million for not realizing he was back in 2012. The State will probably pile on another $2 million or more in legal costs that they incurred persecuting Eyman so far, and the appeal process to Washington State’s rubber stamp, tame State Supreme Court will be the next step. Eyman’s journey through Washington State’s tortuous and politically tainted legal system is far from over.
To better understand how Eyman got here and earned the unequaled fury of the State and this campaign of personal destruction, let’s review how Eyman got here. (here is my video commentary on this case a few days after the hearing)
Tim Eyman’s quixotic political path to Judge Dixon’s courtroom
The truth must be faced. Eyman’s resume is terrifying to the political bureaucracy and the parasitical special interests who profit from the increasing bloat of bureaucracy. For over 22 years, Tim Eyman has been the sponsor, cheerleader, fundraiser, and activist promoting lower taxes in Washington State, and he has mostly used the initiative process to make an impact. This threatens the bureaucracy, grant grifters, insiders, and special interests which feed on tax dollars. Let’s face it, these are the people who run Washington State’s government at all levels. Many politicians have wanted to wear this anti-tax mantle, but in a divided Washington State government where the Democratic Party has controlled the Governor’s office since the Reagan administration, a serious legislator will rarely be consistent lowering taxes or regulations. Compromise is often a fact of life when passing legislation. Even the most ardent small government Republican legislator must inevitably take votes on budgets or proposals which raise taxes somewhere. One benefit of being a tax cutting initiative activist like Eyman is his exclusive focus on the one thing which matters and ignore the rest of the compromising drama which typically muddies the legislative process.
It also helps Tim Eyman that the people generally support his initiative efforts. Despite the recent bizarre and politically corrupted ruling of the Washington State Supreme Court on the $30 car tabs initiative last year (see here), it is obvious the people of Washington State want $30 car tabs, not the jacked-up, fraudulent car tab tax costs they pay today. The people voted for this three times over the past 20 years, yet the bureaucrats can’t accept anything that restrains the bureaucracy’s insatiable appetite for other people’s money. It was equally obvious that the people of Washington State desire to constrain the increase of property taxes (an Eyman initiative – see article here). It has been obvious the people want to make it harder to increase taxes (see the fight for the 2/3 vote requirement for the legislature to increase taxes). The people have also frequently demonstrated with their advisory votes (a product of another Eyman initiative) that people mostly do not support the frequent tax increases invented by the Governor and the Legislature in Olympia.
Tim Eyman has been able to make a living in this state as an anti-tax initiative activist and along the way he has frequently stepped on the toes of almost every political power base that exists in this state. He offended the social justice warriors when he championed and launched the elimination of race-based criteria in state hiring decisions (thanks to John Carlson and others who helped get this over the finish line in 1998). He trashed the King County Council and ended several political careers when he helped reduce the size of the “Cadillac Council” from 13 to 9 back in 2004. In that specific case, when the sponsors of the initiative, the King County Corrections Officers Guild, were stalled out in court, Eyman, on his own was the one who forced the State Supreme Court to require King County to allow this vote to move forward (not every judge on that court was corrupt back then). Eyman stepped all over Sound Transit, widely recognized as one of the most wasteful and corrupt organizations in Washington State with his frequent efforts to reduce the tax revenue this bloated behemoth sucks from the people.
Eyman offended the surveillance state with his many efforts to eliminate red-light cameras in local cities. He offended every political consultant in the state (Republican and Democrat) by running initiatives which, on average, cost far less than the typical bloated initiative campaigns run by consultants of either political stripe. All consultants viewed Eyman as a threat because the money he raised for his initiatives, it is widely believed, was cash those other consultants wanted for their campaigns and projects. Eyman offended the politicians by testifying against tax increases in the Legislature, calling out Republicans who decided to support tax increases, and with his efforts to use the initiative process to do what nobody in Olympia had the stomach or votes to achieve. He did this regardless of whether Republicans controlled the Legislature or whether Democrats controlled both houses. Eyman offended the sedate, sleepy political class by being a flamboyant salesman dressing up in gorilla costumes, Darth Vader costumes, and popping up everywhere promoting his latest initiative campaign. He offended the traditional media class because he used them to promote his campaigns, remained in the spotlight, and mocked them at every turn.
Most significantly, Eyman offended his legions of enemies by never stopping. When his ideas were defeated in court or at the ballot box, he was right back at it trying again. While his enemies can be found in both political parties, the legions of Angry Leftists seemed most offended they could not make him go away. They threw pies in his face. They protested outside his home. They threatened him in person and in writing. They wrote nasty articles about him including bizarre political cartoons that are as offensive as we have ever seen in the traditional media (comparing him to Osama Bin Laden or other mad bombers). When Eyman screwed up his campaign reports the first time, AG Christine Gregoire (before she became Governor) sued him in 2002 and imposed a serious $50,000 fine on Eyman, which included curtailing his efforts to be engaged in political committees (preventing him from being his own treasurer on his campaigns). Even when Eyman had meltdowns on camera and made very public mistakes, he got back up and kept trying. Very few people would survive that process, yet his persistence is what they found most offensive.
Eyman often wears a t-shirt like the one photographed nearby, and while many people claim to be persistent, this truly appears to be his motto.
Eyman continued to be engaged in the process. Love him or hate him, it was obvious he was not going away. This made a lot of political insiders and grifters furious, and nowhere was the fury greater than within the bureaucracy and the offices of Washington State’s Attorney General. Remember, Bob Ferguson had been a King County Council member who was forced to run to defend his seat back when Eyman helped shrink the King County Council in 2004.
Washington’s Campaign Reporting Laws – drafted and corrupted to protect the Powerful, punish the outsiders.
I am an open skeptic about the efficacy of Washington State’s campaign reporting laws. I believe they are mostly designed as a political tool to be weaponized against political enemies by political insiders and they primarily protect the powerful and politically connected. Most people like the reporting and the theoretical transparency this brings to the political process, but it is the enforcement of these laws where the political abuse thrives.
I have some experience with these laws. I have written about them extensively here, here, here, and here. I am responsible for filing over 625 campaign finance complaints from 2016-2020. So far, these complaints have resulted in 76 different Left-leaning politicians, judges, PACs, Unions, and other groups paying fines and settlements to the State (see here).
An additional 102 politicians and political groups have been exposed for breaking the law and formally warned by the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) for their law breaking. I have enjoyed the 59 complaints filed against me, which did not amount to much. I may not be an expert, but I have some familiarity with these laws and their enforcement that few can match.
Among other actions, I forced AG Ferguson to sue 19 different politicians and political groups in this state. This continued for a few months until the lead attorney in that office quit because he said he did not go to work for the AG’s office to sue Democrats (presumably he DID go to work there to sue Republicans and Tim Eyman – see article here). Eventually, the Legislature passed the “Stop Glen Morgan” bill (see here) in 2018 and this reduced most of the political drama.
The significance of this trip down memory lane is as follows:
I believe, based on what I have witnessed, that never in the history of the State of Washington has anyone abused the powerful office of the Attorney General more than Bob Ferguson. He uses the AG’s office primarily to harass political enemies and protect his powerful political friends and campaign donors. He has done this in other departments outside the campaign finance division, but I will only focus on THAT department for now in the context of the Eyman case.
Whether Tim Eyman broke some campaign reporting laws or not is irrelevant at this point. Everyone who has participated in Washington State’s political process and attempted to comply with the campaign reporting laws has broken the law at some point in the process. That is a feature, not a bug of the system. I’ve proven this many times in the past (see here). Most of the time, even with an AG lawsuit, the case is settled, and a modest fine is issued. It is exceptionally rare that any other restrictions on the violators are imposed. However, the question is whether these violations by Eyman are so serious they merit the enforcement action conducted by the State, andwhether the law is applied equally to all.
Bob Ferguson has never applied the law equally. He never will. He does not even pretend to do this because he knows he will never be held accountable for his abuse of the people and the law in this state. For example, when he launched litigation against Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman in 2016 coordinated with some Leftist groups, her campaign finance violations were relatively minor. Yet, the AG’s office had three press conferences about only Wyman’s case in the middle of that election cycle (see here). That entire lawsuit was orchestrated and timed to help remove the only statewide elected Republican in Washington State. It failed, but Ferguson did his best. Similarly, during the Eyman litigation drama, the AG’s office has repeated press releases, press conferences, announcements, disparaging leaks, quotes in the paper, etc.
However, when I forced the AG’s office to sue former Speaker of the house Democrat Frank Chopp for breaking the law, there was a quiet settlement with neutral press language. The same outcome occurred when Democrat State Senator Sam Hunt was sued, Democrat Senator Morris, and many others. All quiet at the AG’s office. When I forced the AG to sue the Pierce County Democratic Party for their campaign finance violations, Ferguson’s office created a payment plan for the minor judgement (the first time in state history this had ever been done). When forced to sue the Spokane County Democratic Party, Kittitas County Democratic Party, Thurston County Democratic Party, King County Democratic Party, San Juan Democratic Party, among others (all political supporters of Ferguson) – the AG was largely quiet about the settlements. Ferguson created generous payment terms, avoided most motion practice, didn’t ask many questions, and conducted almost no formal discovery. These were friendly lawsuits with patty cake litigation among friends.
Tim Eyman, in contrast, was repeatedly deposed by the AG’s office for many days of interrogations. His wife was deposed and harassed the same way. Most attorneys who witnessed these aspects of the case had never seen anything like this in the past. There was massive motion practice (court motions by attorneys) – dwarfing all other campaign finance cases combined. All of Eyman’s top donors were also harassed and interrogated. Eyman’s hard drive on his computer was mirrored. Mostly, the litigation became a political harassment exercise by the AG to frighten Eyman’s supporters, terrify his family, and fish for anything else on which they could attack or embarrass him. Everyone associated with Eyman and his political campaigns was harassed and attacked with frequent press conferences and press releases. Except for Eyman’s campaign treasurer. The AG ignored Eyman’s treasurer for several years, until the guy died in a car accident and could no longer testify about Eyman’s campaign filings (Under Washington State law, the treasurer is responsible for the campaign reports, and it is unique to Eyman’s case that the State never attempted to contact the treasurer).
Contrast this with the AG’s forced litigation against Twitter, Google, and Facebook who clearly, willfully, and without exception violated the state’s campaign finance laws, never provided the data necessary to report to the PDC, and never even pretended to comply with the law. Employees at these companies were donors to Ferguson’s political campaigns. AG Ferguson never had extensive motion practice with these major corporations and their large legal teams. The AG never did deep discovery dives on the Big Tech corporations. The AG never mirrored their hard drives, dragged their employees through depositions, or harassed any of them. Bob Ferguson pretended these were real lawsuits, but the AG staff just played a bit of legal patty-cake. Then AG Ferguson settled with a “friends” agreement and had the Big Tech companies pay a minor fine to the state without even admitting guilt. Nothing to see there, and who really cares about transparency anyway when they are writing campaign checks to Ferguson and his political friends?
Eyman got the scorched earth treatment, far beyond any other examples I can find in the history of the state. Of course, Mega Big Tech corporations got kid glove treatment. In Bob Ferguson’s world, if he is forced to sue political donors, they get friendly, micro settlements. Violating the state’s campaign reporting laws is just a minor annoyance for them. No worries. Political allies play pretend litigation in court for a few months with little cost, no threats, minor motion practice, no harassment, and for God’s sake, certainly not any political restrictions on their future actions. Everyone stays friends and Ferguson’s campaign donations keep coming, with a few promises of more contributions in the future (wink, wink).
There is no equal protection under the law with AG Bob Ferguson. Ferguson’s political allies and donors get the friendly pretend litigation settlement that everyone expects. Political enemies get scorched earth treatment, which is celebrated by Ferguson and his friends (Ferguson frequently fundraises off his attacks on Eyman). Tim Eyman got even more scorched earth treatment as political payback for his past activism.
Thurston County Superior Court – Where individual freedom and the Constitution go to die
As a resident of Thurston County, a frequent participant in the legal process here, and a longtime observer of the Thurston County Court System, it pains me to point out the obvious. This is far more than just saying the Emperor has no clothes, yet it must be said. If you have been targeted by the State of Washington, you will never get a fair or honest trial in Thurston County. That will NEVER happen. There is no equal protection under the law in Thurston County Superior Court for these types of cases, and the judges repeatedly reinforce this fact with their unending series of predictably lopsided decisions. This trend has only worsened and become more extreme in recent years.
The Thurston County Superior Court is where most legal cases involving state agencies are litigated. In part, this is because Thurston County is home to the state capitol and all state agencies (with a few minor exceptions) are located here. This becomes the logical venue for legal actions involving these agencies (like the Attorney General’s office). The total deference to the State exhibited daily by superior court judges in Thurston County is nauseating to all who believe in equal protection under the law. The concept of equal protection under the law was trampled long ago by these judges, and it exists now only in theory, not practice, in Thurston County Superior Court. The court maintains the fiction of equal protection for those not paying attention. If you as a citizen are challenging the State on any issue or if you have been targeted by the State for destruction (like Tim Eyman), the outcome is essentially pre-ordained. The “trial” experience is just a time-wasting exercise for the attorneys to get paid, and the apparatus of the judicial system to justify its existence. The concept of “justice” will be absent in these cases, but the Kabuki theatre of the trial helps keep the paychecks rolling.
Keep in mind, most of the cases that flood the legal system, even in Thurston County, don’t rise to this level of significance. So it is not too difficult to conceal the predictable bias in the system. Most people go to court for relatively mundane litigation like traffic tickets (District Court), divorce, restraining orders, plea-bargains for settlements, and mundane civil cases settling disputes among neighbors or businesses. When it comes to these types of cases, Thurston County Superior Court muddles through the mess and drama like any other Washington State Superior Court. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but nothing impressive.
However, when it comes to anything involving the abuse of government power, the judges in Thurston County will do almost anything to support the government’s team, and if you are abused by a government agency (does not matter which one), your freedom and liberty are meaningless to these judges. You are not on their “team” and the Thurston County judges happily cooperate with the “team” to inflict maximum harm on you. The State reigns supreme and cannot be questioned, and certainly the people are not allowed to question anything.
Part of the problem here is that most of these judges are creatures of the State. For example, Judge Dixon is a former FBI agent. Most of Dixon’s close family members are bureaucrats in various state agencies. In Dixon’s courtroom, the State is always right. Even when a ruling he made was generally supported by people who support freedom and the rule of law, that outcome was only because the State wanted that outcome. For example, when Judge Dixon ruled correctly that I-1639 violated the law, the Washington Secretary of State had sided with the pro-gun folk who opposed the initiative. When I challenged the AG’s clearly biased ballot title for the I-1631 Carbon Tax initiative, Dixon ruled with the State, as he always does. This is because the legal arguments or facts just do not matter in his court when the State is involved. If the State asks for an outcome, Dixon always complies.
When reviewing the other judges in Thurston County Superior Court, you will find most of them are also co-opted by the State. Their resumes speak for themselves, but their rulings simply reinforce this assessment. Many of them worked for the Attorney General’s office before they became a judge. For example, let’s look at Judge Carol Murphy. Local attorneys tell me in her courtroom, only “Murphy’s Law” is applied because nobody believes she follows any recognizable law when she invents her rulings. I have personally experienced totally irrational rulings in her courtroom that defy logic, recognition of any constitutional protections, or even any attachment to the law at all. Every day, Judge Murphy destroys lives in her courtroom and seems to enjoy the experience of doing so. Judge Murphy was a former employee of the state AG’s office, of course. Judge Lanese has a similar background as a former AG employee with the additional bonus that his aunt was recently retired Supreme Court Justice Fairhurst. As part of the AG’s “judge club,” his office merely operates as an extension of the State’s political will.
There may be judges less harmful to individual freedoms and who sometimes make rulings recognizing the existence of the federal and state constitutional protections afforded individuals, but they are rare and hard to find. Most of the Thurston County Court rulings are merely window dressing for whatever the State wants to do to the people. Washington State’s Supreme Court is no check on Thurston County Court’s decisions since nearly all the justices warming those seats began as political appointees at their current positions. These “justices” know they can only maintain their highly paid and prestigious position if they do not buck the system (the State), so they happily crush all who oppose the State’s abuse. This guarantees there is no check or balance to a co-opted and tame Thurston County Superior Court. You as an individual will always be crushed under the tread of the State’s legal bulldozer when the State turns its attentions on you. The Thurston County judges are merely there to grease the gears of the State’s legal bulldozer. Your freedoms and liberty as defined in the state constitution are just silly footnotes to be ignored as you are crushed by the State. I have no way to be sure the judges laugh about what they do to us, but they certainly do not seem to care.
The obvious solution would be to replace the corrupted judges of Thurston County with judges who recognize some of our freedoms and right to exist without being destroyed by the State every time the State desires it. Maybe, it would be nice to have judges who do not view themselves as protectors of the bureaucracy and perhaps even view themselves as defenders of individual freedom and defenders of the constitution. However, as every attorney will tell you, running for judge against an incumbent will end your legal career if you lose, and the odds are stacked against you. Few attorneys are so brave they will take that career and income risk. We are stuck with the worst judges we can scrounge from the AG’s back office.
Since equal protection under the law is largely dead in Thurston County, you might have a few options to escape this Kangaroo Court. Not all of them will apply in your case and there are no guarantees you will get a fair hearing implementing these options, but they could save you. First, if forced into legal action in Thurston County Superior Court, try to remove the case to Federal Court if you can (no guarantees, but at least there are a few real judges in Federal Court who understand the constitution – You might get lucky). If Federal law is involved, this is the only sane path. If your attorney resists this path, you should get a new attorney. Secondly, if you can change venues to a different county, you might have a better chance at justice. This is easier if Thurston County is named in the case. No guarantees, of course, but at least a chance. Finally, depending on the nature of your case, you can affidavit the judge assigned to your case (which means you can kick the judge off your case). You cannot do worse than Judge Carol Murphy (abandon all hope for a fair or even rational trial in Murphy’s courtroom). She should always be an automatic affidavit. Judge Dixon and Judge Lanese are good to affidavit as well, although you run the risk of certain doom by getting reassigned to Murphy. You get one chance to do this in the beginning of a legal case, and you can only affidavit a judge one time. However, while the Thurston County Superior Court judges are generally bad, a few might be marginally better than the ones initially assigned to your case.
The final joke – don’t restrict Eyman’s free speech
Judge Dixon in the final closing words in his courtroom made two statements that were so comical, I thought he was joking, but then it became apparent he was not. They both merit review.
The first was that he was issuing a fine of “only” $2.6 million against Eyman. That was because because the U.S. Supreme Court had indicated recently that these fines can not be “excessive.” This was amusing in a sick sort of way because while Bob Ferguson’s office was asking for an absurd $7.8 million fine, Dixon thought $2.6 million was not “excessive.” This detachment from reality by this judge helps demonstrate the type of rarified air our judges breathe where a $2.6 million fine is not “excessive.” How wealthy and out of touch is Judge Dixon to believe that any normal person can afford to pay a fine like this?
If you want to see fines that are not “excessive,” you can look at the list of Left-leaning politicians, judges, PACs, etc who have been fined based on my complaints linked here. None of them exceed $100,000. Some of them were for violations clearly equivalent to anything Eyman has been accused of doing (without the fancy breathless press releases of the AG’s office). Most of them are for less than $10,000. However, in this judge’s world, $2.6 million is nothing – not even “excessive.”
The second was the phony admonishment to the AG’s office that after reading Dixon’s ruling which simply rubber stamped and copied the AG’s demands to impose a radical and unprecedented set of personal restrictions on Eyman’s ability to ever participate in the political process again for the rest of his life, Judge Dixon pretended to admonish the State that they cannot restrict Eyman’s free speech. I struggled not to laugh at this pointless and embarrassing statement by Judge Dixon. I’m not sure why he bothered.
Seriously, we don’t have any judicial oversight in this state unless the judge is a conservative or originalist. As long as the judge pushes the State’s vision, they will be okay no matter what rights are trampled. The State’s lead attorney on this case – the weirdo Eric Newman who I met and wrote about in this article, seemed to be trying not to laugh behind his mask too.
I am fairly sure Eyman can still vote. He lives in King County now, so he can probably vote as many times as he wants in each election. Eyman probably can run for office if he remains masochistic. He can probably wave campaign signs and doorbell homes. Maybe he can write articles. I do not see how he can be effectively involved in the initiative process and still comply with the rules laid down by the court, which was the goal of the State all along. Those restrictions were crafted by the AG to ensure an endless stream of future litigation with vague landmines scattered everywhere. In a place where the rule of law doesn’t matter anyway, these restrictions will be redefined beyond all recognition and Eyman will be sued again. Maybe Eyman just enjoys being in court. Court can be fun, after all.
If Eyman already has a judgement he can never pay hanging over his head, what does it matter if he is sued again and again in the future? To quote Hillary Clinton – “What difference does it make?” Eyman can just accept it and add new fines and judgements to the IOU pile. Who says indentured servitude doesn’t exist? Perhaps that is Eyman’s best move in the future. Try to comply with the legal minefield which ensures “free speech” will be largely meaningless in a world of $2.6 million fines. As new fines are invented and added to Eyman’s collection, simply see if he can collect enough to get to 9-digits. That would be a cool accomplishment.
I do not know how Eyman can live his life as a walking, talking PAC. That is a bizarre ruling by the judge that is so weird and unprecedented that I can only presume they thought Eyman would not have a competent lawyer to challenge it in a real (Federal) court someday.
Of course, the underlying message from the court and AG Bob Ferguson is clearer than ever right now. It has little to do with Tim Eyman. This message is directed at anyone else who dares to challenge the system in the future. Yeah, I am sure you are out there, and you believe you can do it better than Tim Eyman, and I am sure you are right. You will cross your T’s and dot your I’s better than he did. Every situation creates a teachable moment, and I am sure Eyman’s experience has been a lesson for us all. However, it will not matter. The State is here to destroy you if you try to reduce taxes or reduce the bureaucracy. THAT is the unforgiveable sin in Washington State right now. The State will ignore the state constitution, and our tame and timid judges will aid them in their efforts. The State will invent any excuse they can find. The pretend media will cheer them on. The State will abuse every law, due process, make up fake new laws that do not exist, and do whatever it takes to destroy you. You have been warned.
Despite the warning, the threats, the corrupt judges, and the tame state-approved media, it is certain that those who recognize the imperative for the bloat and abuse of the State to be constrained will not stop. The legal and financial crucifixon of Tim Eyman sends a message. So does a refusal to surrender, cower in fear, or bend a knee to the State. Freedom and liberty are too important to abandon. The bloat and abuse of the State is the biggest threat to both. Future generations need people today willing to continue this struggle. It is worth the fight. Despite what happened to Eyman, even he is determined to press on. That sends a message as well. Change is inevitably coming, and those in power rightly fear the resistance, anger, and resentment of the people. The political elite may believe they can suppress effective dissent and political activism, but they are only showing their corruption and greed for all to see. The State and their tamed media may pretend this can continue as it always has, but as more people engage and push back, the State can’t give the Eyman treatment to all of us.
OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.” IT WAS THE FOUNDERS’ 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…
Background articles and documents:
Leavenworth Echo – December 3, 2018 – “Tyranny of the Law” (AG didn’t like this article)
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