Opinion

Rich of coffer, poor of ethics

Some call him the “Initiative King,” but it’s more apparent than ever that a better title would be “Knave.”

After riding a three-year wave of self-righteousnous, mocking elected officials and railing against all institutions public, Tim Eyman has been tripped up by what may have been his biggest asset all along – his ego.

We refer to Eyman’s admission, reported extensively in the regional media this week, that he has been skimming initiative campaign contributions for his personal use. Last year, by his own accounting, $45,000 in supporters’ donations disappeared into the “black hole” of the Eyman family budget. Another $165,000 was diverted to an account controlled solely by Eyman and his wife, ostensibly a “consulting fee” for his

services as self-appointed arbiter of public weal and conduit of citizen outrage.

While his road to financial success appears legal – public disclosure questions notwithstanding – supporters are faced with an ugly truth about their populist champion: He lied to them, and he did so repeatedly.

We have commented here on several occasions on the moral bankruptcy of the Eyman agenda – the short-sightedness and cheap opportunism; the appeal to voter cynicism; the contempt for public transportation, social services and government institutions. Thanks to his regressive I-695, the “$30 car tab” initiative, islanders are paying more in local property and sales taxes for needed city and transit services. The Legislature, meanwhile, is left to prop up our Washington State Ferries fleet through yet-undecided funding plans.

Time will tell whether this week’s revelations will bring Eyman to heel, and curb his next round of tax-slashing efforts. (Will, one wonders, his coffers still fill up for all those paid

signature gatherers?) But far be it from us to kick the man when he’s down. We’ll leave that to the readers. We were particularly amused by the insights of one Kitsap-area writer, who submitted a brief commentary to area newspapers.

Wrote he:

Bill Clinton – “I never had sexual relations with that woman.”

George W. Bush – “I never had political relations with that man.”

Tim Eyman – “I never had financial relations with that money.”

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