Open Thread Nine Dash Twenty-Three

- Now that Scott Walker is no longer running for President, we’ll only have like, 1000 or so GOP Presidential candidates to make fun of. Also, Scott Walker when he does terrible things as governor.

– I always feel a bit strange about numbers that I don’t have much context for. $600,000 seems like both a lot and not enough Federal money for body cameras for SPD.

About Those “Thousands and Thousands” of Planned Parenthood Alternatives

– The security zone for the Chinese President is strange to walk through.

– Even if that Trump questioner was a plant (and there’s no evidence of it), any decent candidate, or human, would be able come up with a good answer.

Viola Davis’ Emmy speech was so great.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


First the pre-Drinking Liberally event: You are invited to a fundraiser for Seattle City Council Candidate Michael Maddux. Join your fellow progressives as Michael shares his vision for the future of Seattle. The BBQ will be fired up, the keg will be tapped, and plenty of great company will be on hand to share ideas about how to move Seattle forward. The 1995 ALDS Championship game will be shown, commercial free. All are Welcome…and bring a friend of two! The 6:30 pm fundraiser is at 2034 Minor Ave E, Seattle WA 98102.

Then join us a few blocks away at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern for the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally. There we’ll share even more conversations about politics over a beverage. We meet every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. Our starting time is 8:00 pm.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings happening this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities chapter also meets. On Wednesday, the Burien and Bellingham chapters meet. The Spokane, Kent, and Woodinville chapters meet on Thursday.

There are 184 chapters of Living Liberally, including seventeen in Washington state, four in Oregon and two in Idaho. Chances are good there’s a chapter meeting near you.

PDC Staff Finds Eyman Committed Numerous Serious Violations; Goldy Proven Exactly Right

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 12.56.22 PM

In a report released today (pdf), Public Disclosure Commission staff recommend referring the latest case against Tim Eyman to the Attorney General to pursue “appropriate legal action”:

PDC staff recommends that the Commission find that Tim Eyman, Voters Want More Choices, and Protect Your Right to Vote on Initiatives committed multiple apparent violations of RCW 42.17A as described above. Given the seriousness of the apparent violations, staff recommends that the Commission conclude that the Commission’s penalty authority is inadequate to address the violations. Accordingly, staff recommends that the Commission refer the matter to the Washington Attorney General to initiate appropriate legal action against the Respondents.

Commissioners will meet on Thursday to consider the staff recommendations. Given that Eyman is accused of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars for both personal and political use, and that the PDC’s penalty authority is capped at a mere $10,000 fine, the Commission will almost certainly accept staff recommendations. And no, I’m not using the word “laundering” recklessly—that’s pretty much what the PDC report describes. (Other words that come to mind are “wire fraud,” “mail fraud,” “kickbacks,” and “bribery.”)

And that’s just during 2012. For me, the most gratifying finding in the staff report is the conclusion that these kickbacks had likely been going on for years:

on multiple occasions between 2004 and 2011, after paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in committee funds to Citizen Solutions to qualify his initiatives for the ballot, Mr. Eyman then sought and received payments back from the firm ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per campaign.

Which is exactly what I concluded back in 2006 when I wrote: “I’ve always suspected that Eyman has a financial stake in Citizens Solutions, or receives some kind of monetary ‘consideration.’” And it wasn’t a lucky guess. We knew that Eyman’s campaigns were substantially overpaying for their signatures. This was the only logical explanation why.

Hate to say “I told you so,” but… no, wait… I LOVE to say “I told you so!”

Corrupt, obviously, but illegal? Well, imagine you are a manager at a public agency or private corporation, and you extract personal payments from a vendor in return for awarding contracts. That is certainly illegal. Whether Eyman has the same legal fiduciary responsibility to the people funding his campaigns as he would to an employer, I don’t know. But there’s little question he’s violated the law in covering these transactions up.

My hope is that Attorney General Bob Ferguson throws the book at Eyman and extracts a felony plea at the very the least (under RCW 42.17A.750). I’m not so interested in sending Eyman to prison as I am in ending his corrupt for-profit initiative business, but I’d also encourage federal prosecutors to take a look at the evidence as well: For if in fact he used payments from Citizen Solutions, and to Virginia-based Citizens in Charge, to illegally cover up the I-517 money trail, then Eyman may have violated federal law too.

A civil fine, however large, clearly isn’t enough to force Eyman to obey the law—he paid a $55,000 fine in 2002 and didn’t miss a beat. A criminal conviction may be the only way insure the integrity of our public disclosure system.

Open Thread 9/21

- If Cyrus Habib were to unseat Brad Owen as Lt. Governor, it would make him the second Lt. Governor since statehood. I’m pretty sure. Owen has served that position for a lot of useless time.

– Patty Murray’s pro-Planned Parenthood editorial in The Seattle Times is pretty badass, even if it stresses bipartisanship more than I’d like.


Abortion Is Healthcare, and Healthcare Is a Right

Federal Court Rules Center for Medical Progress and BioMax Can’t Plead the Fifth

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Larry Wilmore: Debunking FAUX News’ mythical “War on Cops”.

Some kid’s bootleg South Park.

The 2016 Clown Show:

Matthew Filipowicz and Emily Atkin: Teabagger threat to Obamacare in Kentucky.

Mental Floss: 24 facts about musicals.

Larry Wilmore: County jerk’s office and Oath Keepers.

Liberal Viewer: Megyn Kelly wrong on law defending Kim Davis, anti-gay KY County Clerk.

Matt Binder: Jade Helm ends…without a hostile take-over.

Boy Builds Clock…Bigot’s Heads Explode:

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about disease.

Greenman: Lonnie and Koni, Senior glaciologists on climate change.

VSauce: The Zipf mystery.

Thom: The Good, the Bad, and the Very, Very Helobiously Ugly!

U.S. Closed for Business:

Sam Seder and Farron Cousins: It’s 2015 and the Wingdings are STILL talking about BENGHAAAAAZZZZZIIIIIII!!!1!!11!

White House: West Wing Week.

Congressional Hits and Misses of the Week.

Minute Physics: Why it’s impossible to tune a piano.
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

Initiative 1185 Signature Firm Paid Tim Eyman $308,000

No Tim Eyman

Tim Eyman is a horse’s ass.

Three years ago I brought to my editors at The Stranger a scoop detailing the undisclosed funding of one Tim Eyman initiative with money raised from another, and they were so concerned about the seriousness of the allegations (I was accusing him of, you know, breaking the law), that they took the somewhat rare step of vetting the piece with the paper’s attorney before publishing. I was never concerned about libeling Eyman because the case I was making was so well documented, but regardless, I joked to the attorney at the time, Eyman would never sue anybody for libel out of fear that legal discovery would expose how much money he was secretly making on kickbacks from his favored signature gathering firm, Citizens Solutions.

Well, three years later, we now know how much: $308,000!

Voters Want More Choices, the Eyman-led political committee behind I-1185, paid Citizen Solutions nearly $623,000 between April and July 2012, according to court records. Overall, the firm earned $1.2 million for its efforts to get I-1185 on the ballot.

In July 2012, Citizen Solution paid $308,000 to Eyman’s [private company] Watchdog for Taxpayers. Eyman told the PDC that he was paid to find new clients for the firm.

That same month Eyman loaned $190,000 to Citizens in Charge which used it to pay for gathering signatures for I-517, according to court records.

Neither the payment nor the loan was reported to the Public Disclosure Commission, according to court documents.

I don’t know that there’s anything inherently illegal about Citizen Solutions paying Eyman $308,000, as long as he declares it on his taxes. It’s his failure to fully disclose I-517’s transactions that led to this investigation.

But given the unusually large gap between what the signature gatherers on the street say they’re being paid and the inflated cost of Eyman’s signature drives, it is fair to speculate that this isn’t the first or only payment that Eyman has received from Citizen Solutions. In fact, I publicly speculated exactly that way back in June, 2006:

I have another theory which, lacking the subpoena power to open up the private books of Eyman and Citizens Solutions I cannot possibly prove, but… I think Tim’s ripping off his patron, Woodenville investment banker Michael Dunmire, who’d already contributed $307,700 to I-917 through the end of May.

[…] Again, I can’t prove it, but I’ve always suspected that Eyman has a financial stake in Citizens Solutions, or receives some kind of monetary “consideration”, and while none of this may be illegal it is certainly dishonest. Something is just not right here, and knowing Timmy, I can’t help but suspect that he’s cooking the books for personal gain. Again.

Nine years later the Attorney General finally used his subpoena power to open up Eyman’s books on I-1185, and he found exactly what I predicted. And considering the inflated costs Eyman has paid over the years for printing and mailing, I wouldn’t be surprised if he earned “monetary considerations” from that too. We’ll never know for sure (unless he sues me for libel), but Eyman’s probably made several million dollars this way from his initiative campaigns over the years.

Ever since he emerged on the scene Eyman has gone to great pains to deny that he earns anything off his initiative campaigns. At first, he just plain lied about it. Then, he concocted this byzantine web of campaign committees and vendors and private corporations to cover up the money trail.

Of course, as long as you disclose it, it’s neither illegal nor unusual to pay oneself to run an initiative campaign. So why does Eyman hide it? I’m guessing because if his backers knew he was skimming 25 percent right off the top, they might have the common sense to cut out the middleman. And that would mean the end of Tim Eyman’s lucrative “volunteer” career.

ooopppeeennn ttthhhrrreeeaaaddd 9-18

- There are plenty of issues where local control doesn’t make sense, but rent control isn’t one of them, so get on board, the parts of the City Council that aren’t.

– Great job, Ballard Preservation Society

I had the good sense to miss the GOP Presidential debate the other night, but here are some links vaguely related to the GOP Presidential candidates:

Debunking Five Absurd Comments About Planned Parenthood From the GOP Debate

The Club For Growth doesn’t like Donald Trump, but I don’t like either of them.

– Maybe not such humble beginnings

No, Jeb Bush, Your Brother Did Not Keep Us Safe

Being afraid of the Downfall of Western Civilization means being afraid of equal rights and diplomacy. It’s resulted in an atmosphere that last night culminated in half the candidates refusing to even talk to foreign leaders– their entire approach to foreign policy is to sit on their porch with a shotgun and scream “get off my lawn!” It’s created a fractured party where many of them are more persuaded than ever that “allowing” people to have equal rights will topple our government.

Poll Analysis: Clinton versus Paul

97.7% probability of winning
2.3% probability of winning
Mean of 329 electoral votes
Mean of 209 electoral votes

Electoral College Map

AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLousianaMaineMarylandMassachusettesMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaD.C.WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Electoral College Map

GeorgiaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoDelawareConnecticutFloridaMississippiAlabamaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaD.C.WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Previous analyses shows that former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are performing reasonably well (even if losing) against Hillary Clinton in a electoral college election that uses state polling. We might label Bush and Rubio as “top-tier” candidates, except that neither are leading in the G.O.P. primary. Still…they are a threat to Clinton.

Then there is the bottom tier. Certainly, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) falls into this category based on his abysmal performance against Clinton (0.5% probability of winning to Clinton’s 99.5%).

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) must also be relegated to the bottom of the Republican primary heap, although in fairness, he is doing much better than Walker. Not really a threat, though.

After 100,000 simulated elections, Clinton wins 97,668 times and Paul wins 2,332 times (including the 99 ties). Clinton received (on average) 329 to Paul’s 209 electoral votes. In an election held now, Clinton would have a 97.7% probability of winning and Paul would have a 2.3% probability of winning.

Paul is losing in FL, NC, VA, PA, MI, WI, IA, GA, NM and NV, and he is leading, but isn’t really doing that well in his home state of KY.

Here is the distribution of electoral votes [FAQ] from the simulations:
[Read more…]

At A Minimum

It was very interesting to look at these maps [h/t] of how well you can raise a family or a single person on minimum wage. Looking at the second to last map, it’s nice to see that Washington’s wage is enough to let, at least some people in some circumstances, make a living.

That’s obviously the cheapest parts of the state. Even there, the state’s minimum wage isn’t enough to raise a family. So a push for a higher statewide wage seems pretty reasonable.

And here in the most expensive parts of the state it’s even more needed. Hopefully the Seattle and SeaTac minimum wages will have some relief here in King County. But it really should be statewide.


- Back to school, Seattle.

– I’m not a big comic books person, but seriously, DC, get your shit together.

Ahead of public hearing, a couple ways to make the 520 Bridge plans better

– “A future in which eating out no longer involves waiters?” That’s not dining. That’s eating.

– I had heard of many of these 7 amazing places in Seattle you’ve probably never heard of but will have to check a few out (h/t to Central Cinema’s Facebook page).

Drinking Liberally — Seattle


The Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally meets this evening. Please join us in conversations about politics from local to international. New ideas and insights are welcomed!

We meet every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. Our starting time is 8:00 pm, but some folks stop by even earlier for dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings happening this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, WA, and Shelton chapters also meet. The Lakewood chapter meets on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets. And next Monday, the Aberdeen and Yakima chapters meet.

There are 184 chapters of Living Liberally, including seventeen in Washington state, four in Oregon and two in Idaho. Chances are good there’s a chapter meeting near you.

Open Thread 09/14/00000002015

- Get your shit together, SPD.

And second, we have this category of “our Christian values” that appears to be, on closer inspection, devoid of content and substance. It’s an ornate treasure chest with nothing inside.

So let’s look at how our congresswoman and her fellow members of Congress got here today. Both houses of Congress overwhelmingly passed the Corker-Cardin bill, a.k.a. the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, (Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted yes) which the president signed into law, that required Congress to come up with a veto-proof majority in order to scuttle the agreement with Iran. So basically they tied their own hands. It wasn’t easy, but they did it.

It’s Pope Francis Who Should Apologize on Abortion

– The plutocrats and the social conservatives will probably be fine together.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

White House: Govt. shutdown ultimatum.

Mental Floss: 33 unusual old remedies.

Louder Crowder: Rouge guns.

Stephen Is Back:

Scientists discover a new species of extinct humans.

Greenman: Palin on her dream job with Trump.

John Oliver on back to school.

Thom: Planned Parenthood and government shutdown.

The 2016 Clown Show:

Thom: Big Business deploys a new weapon against workers.

Pelosi slams fed court ruling on GOP’s latest ObamaCare lawsuit.

Grace Para: Labor Day


Farron Cousins: Environmentalists get tough on climate deniers.

The history of the Wingdings font.

David Pakman: Sarah Palin tells immigrants to “seek American”.

Mental Floss: Where did we get the name America?

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb-Bomb Iran:

Uber drivers: Are they screwed?

Mark Fiore: Tragic Numbers.

Matthew Filipowicz: Police group claims protests against police violence causes more violence :

Thom: Clinton wants to overturn Citizen’s United.

Congressional hits and misses of the week.

Maddow: Obama’s big finish.

Farron Cousins: Teabaggers push Mitch McConnell into fights he cannot win

Reformed Whores: Back To School For Sarah Palin.

White House: West Wing Week.

Kim Davis is a Bigot:

Matthew Filipowicz: What happens when scientists re-test denier’s science.

Thom: Are Republicans committing environmental treason?

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about money.

Daily Inspiration with Dick Cheney.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.