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June 5, 2006

Eyman Dupes Press, Wastes Taxpayer Money

Posted by David Postman at 12:16 PM

Tim Eyman and his initiative partners duped the media and the secretary of state's office this morning into thinking he was coming to Olympia to turn in signatures for his campaign to repeal the state's gay rights bill. But Eyman and Jack and Mike Fagan had nothing to turn in, instead using the press gathered outside the secretary of state's office to promote both Referendum 65 and a separate tax-cutting initiative he is pushing for the November ballot.

The secretary of state's office had brought in two temporary workers in anticipation of processing petitions a day before the referendum deadline. Those workers were then sent home, though by state work rules, each were paid for two hours of work. A third worker was taken from other chores to stand by for the petitions that Eyman told the office he was bringing down.

Eyman says he deserves to waste a little public money because of his past successes with tax-cutting initiatives. He told public radio reporter Austin Jenkins, "I think there's no doubt that I think with the seven and a half billion dollars we've managed to save taxpayers over the last several years, I think that more than covers it."

Last week Eyman sent out e-mails to the press saying he would be "bringing down petitions to the Secretary of State's 520 Union Building offices on Monday, June 5th at 11 am." He did bring some. But he didn't drop them off and doesn't yet have enough signatures. Eyman and his co-sponsors didn't turn any signatures in today. Instead, they used boxes of petitions as a backdrop for their gloating.

He also said he told the secretary of state's office he was "bringing down" petitions. It's not a reach to think that meant he was turning in petitions, rather than "bringing down" petitions that he would then take back with him.

"Feel like you've been duped this morning? Well you have," said Mike Fagan, one of Eyman's partners. He justified it by saying voters feel duped, too, about state car taxes, one of Eyman's perennial issues.

Eyman said his e-mails were vague and could have been interpreted different ways. But being duplicitous is OK with him: "I think it is fair to say that we are willing to do whatever's necessary ... ."

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