Tim Eyman e-newsletter, October 14, 2009
|Tim Eyman newsletters|
October 14, 2009
To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc'd to the media, house & senate members, and Governor)
From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, cell: 509-991-5295, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: Good day for citizens' privacy, more lies from Sam Reed -- Judge orders Reed to protect citizens' privacy
Speaking for 10 minutes from the bench, Judge Hicks talked about the privacy protections of the U.S. Constitution but added "Our state Constitution affords us more privacy than the federal." He explained the importance of protecting these citizens until the federal case resolves itself. But Judge Hicks went on to say that even if the federal court overturns Judge Settle, no personal information will be released until Judge Hicks makes his own determination.
After hearing the ruling, Sam Reed's lawyer asked: "Does this overlap the federal ruling on R-71?"
Judge Hicks: "Yes, that is my intent."
From 1912 until 2006, citizens exercising their political free speech rights by affixing their names, signatures, and home addresses on ballot measure petitions in Washington were protected. Every Secretary of State, other than this one, protected citizens' privacy.
In 1973, Secretary of State Lud Kramer was sued by a state senator for refusing to turn over the names, signatures, and home addresses of citizens who signed petitions to cap politicians' pay (Chaney v Kramer). SOS Kramer made clear the office's longstanding practice, supported by a 1938 & 1956 Attorneys General opinion, was to not turn them over -- "It has been my policy not to release the names of citizens signing initiative or referendum petitions. ... the release of these signatures has no legal value, but could have deep political ramifications to those signing. I will not violate public trust." He went further by stating that the Public Records Act I-276, passed the previous year, required him to redact that personal information (As OSOS official Don Whiting wrote to the state senator: "Section 26 of Chapter 1, Laws of 1973 (Initiative 276) provides that 'to the extent required to prevent an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy, an agency shall delete identifying details when it makes available or publishes any public record.' It is our belief that the release of the names and addresses of persons in Thurston County who have signed Initiative 282 would constitute such an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy").
Two AG opinions, a Thurston judge, a federal judge, every Secretary of State, they all agree -- protect citizens' privacy. But according to Sam Reed, all of them are wrong and only he is right.
Today's lawsuit asks the state court to try to rein him in.
He's violating the U.S. Constitution (chilling of speech), the Washington State Constitution (government laws, rules, and policies can only facilitate the initiative process, this frustrates it) and various state laws that protect citizens' privacy.
At the bargain price of $1500, Secretary Reed is selling Bryan Wahl, a for-profit consultant and powerful lobbyist, over three million names, signatures, and home addresses of citizens who've signed 11 tax initiatives since 2000. Under Sam Reed's anything-goes policy, commercial use and re-selling of the list, in whole or in part, is not prohibited. Sign a property tax initiative and your name gets sold to real estate agents, sign a no-new-gas-tax initiative, get hit up for a Chevron credit card, sign a lower-car-tab initiative, receive a phone call from your local car dealer. Unless Judge Hicks grants a temporary restraining order, millions of Washingtonian's very personal identifiers will be sold on the open market. These digital copies of our signatures will then be copied and sold and resold over and over again all over the world. Secretary Reed is facilitating commercial exploitation and identity theft.
From Mike Fagan's sworn declaration: "My responsibility in our group is to process, manage, count, and keep secure the petitions mailed to us. I take my role very seriously. That’s what makes me so incensed that we received this email from the Secretary of State on September 28th:
- "I would assume that you yourself make email lists, solicitation lists, etc., with your petition sheets."
We do no such thing and I am deeply offended by the accusation. Nine of the 11 initiatives that are about to be released by Secretary Reed -- the nine we sponsored -- we did not make email lists, solicitation lists, and we did not even photocopy the petitions.
We respect the privacy of the citizens who sign these petitions. We went so far as to write about our commitment to this principle in 2006 – see attached email. The Spokesman Review wrote about our refusal to turn petitions over to others – see attached email. ... We do not copy any of this information because we have always operated with the signers and/or donators privacy in mind.