Why is Gary Randall *really* Dangling the Referendum Carrot?

On January 22nd, Rep. Jamie Pedersen and Sen. Ed Murray introduced SB 5688, the Domestic Partnership Expansion Bill of 2009.  By early February, Gary Randall was raising false hopes among his followers of defeating the bill, while simultaneously promising a referendum should those hopes be dashed.
There was a sense in both the House and the Senate that the homosexuals believe [the DP bill] is a "done deal." I don't agree. Senator Swecker and I, along with others of like mind, are working to defeat the Senate bill. I believe we have a shot at it. If not, we will immediately begin a referendum process that will put it before the people. Traditional marriage prevailed in California, Arizona and Florida this past November. We can do it here as well.
Since that first mention, he's repeated the promise of an initiative or referendum over a dozen times on his blog and in his emails (usually accompanied by a fundraising plea).  Vague references to an unplanned referendum were also bandied about at The Washington Hate Coalition's anti-equality rally in Olympia.

Gary Randall is an unabashed anti-LGBT bigot, so you may think it odd that I'm questioning why he would pursue an initiative or referendum.  The reason is quite simple: because he can't win.  And he knows it.  So there must be other motives in play.  Join me after the flip for an exploration of the probabilities.  (Teaser: in honor of tax day, Gary's IRS filings will be examined!)

I've organized the information into two sections.  In Section I. Why Gary Will Fail Again, I'll provide the reasons why Gary can't win a referendum.  In Section II. What's in it for Gary?, I'll look at why Gary is willing to play Referendum Roulette with other peoples' money.

Section I.  Why Gary Will Fail Again
1.  Washingtonians don't want anti-LGBT referenda.
Washingtonians are a fair-minded lot, and have never welcomed any of The Washington Hate Coalition's mean-spirited statewide initiatives.  Even way back in the dark days of the 80s, when protection from discrimination for gay state employees was the meager forefront of civil rights in Washington.  Here's Gary admitting that early defeat (emphasis mine).

[O]n Christmas Eve 1984, then Governor Booth Gardner signed Executive Order 85-09 giving special protection to homosexuals within Washington state employment. This order bypassed the Legislature and the people entirely.

In 1986 we ran Initiative 490 in an attempt to overturn that Order.

Unfortunately, for lack of signatures, it failed to make it to the ballot.

The WA Secretary of State emphasizes the important part in this official summary.
INITIATIVE MEASURE NO. 490 (Shall knowingly employing, in certain jobs, persons having preferences for or orientation toward conduct defined as sexually deviant, be prohibited?) Filed on February 21, 1986 by Glenn Dobbs of Chehalis. No signature petitions were presented for checking.
FAILED.  Even back in the days when many gay people were too afraid to be out and therefore few heterosexuals were aware they even knew any gay people, you couldn't get enough signatures.

Most recently in 2006, Gary and the rest of The Washington Hate Coalition teamed up with Tim Eyman in an attempt to put the new LGBT anti-discrimination law, HB 2661, on the ballot for a referendum vote.  They got so few signatures that they didn't even bother submitting them to the Secretary of State.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2661. Filed on February 9, 2006 by Tim Eyman, M.J. Fagan, and Leo J. Fagan of Spokane. No signatures were presented for checking.

The Washington Hate Coalition knows that they're unlikely to gather enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot.  If they didn't, Sen. Swecker wouldn't have tried to give The Washington Hate Coalition a state subsidy by pushing Amendment 32, which would have required that the new DP law go directly to a voter referendum.  What do I mean by state subsidy?  Well, as Ken Hutcherson and Joseph Backholm have already explained, getting enough signatures this year would be even more difficult and expensive than previously.  This is because the number of valid signatures required to get a referendum on the ballot is 4% of voter turnout at the last major election, and turnout was huge for the presidential election.  They would need 120,577 valid signatures, and would have only 90 days to collect them. Swecker's amendment would have relieved The Washington Hate Coalition of the costs, work and gamble of playing Referendum Roulette with other peoples' money.  And, of course, the embarrassment yet again failing to get enough signatures.

No wonder the senators opposing the DP bill were rending their garments over the failure of the amendment.

Section I.  Why Gary Will Fail Again
2.  The polls are against them, and getting more so.
University of Washington's Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality conducts the well-respected Washington Poll of voters on numerous issues.  Would you spend your resources on a referendum with poll numbers like these?

"Which of the following statements best describes your views on the issue of same-sex marriage?"
  • 37%  Gay and Lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry.
  • 29%  Gay and lesbian couples should be able to have the same legal rights but it should not be called "marriage".
  • 11%  There should be domestic partnerships tat give gay and lesbian couples only some of the benefits and protections of marriage.
  • 21%  There should be no legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples.
    Poll conducted November 30, 2008

  • In other words, 66% of voters support what we're getting with the DP Expansion Bill, or better.  Not encouraging for Gary.

    In March, 2009, King5's Up Front reported the following King5-Survey USA poll results from 2006 and 2009 showing a clear trend towards an ever increasing fair-mindedness among Washingtonians.
    "Should Same-Sex Couples be Allowed to Marry?"


    Section I.  Why Gary Will Fail Again
    3.  Many of Gary's colleagues in The Washington Hate Coalition have already begged off or bugged out.

  • Embarrassingly for Gary, both Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church and Joseph Backholm of the Focus on the Family Affiliate, Family Policy Institute of Washington, very publicly backed away from a referendum on King5's Up Front.  I think it's fair to assume that Backholm's assistant, Russell Johnson will be following his superior's retreat.
  • Pastor Joe Fuiten of Cedar Park Church is the former Director of Gary's Faith & Freedom Network, and is the very person who hired Gary to be FFN's President and "full time" Executive Director.  Quite sensibly, Fuiten has recently maintained a low profile since his ill-conceived scheme to try to evict retired clergy from their homes.  He won't be much help to Gary.
  • Among The Washington Hate Coalition's non-legislative majors, that only leaves Larry Stickney of the Washington Values Alliance.  Larry is the man who thought it wise to include two monumental campaign failures on his website profile.  He's also the man who flushed cash down the crapper this year by airing anti-equality t.v. ads in the districts of very solid pro-equality legislators who he had no chance of influencing.  With friends like that, Gary...

    In summary, Gary will fail to get a referendum on the ballot because 1) Washingtonians don't want anti-LGBT referenda, and have rejected previous signature gathering attempts; 2) The polls are against them, and getting more so; and 3) Gary's more intelligent friends have seen the writing on the wall and begged off this losing proposition.

    Section II. What's in it for Gary?
    So why is Gary raising false hopes in and real funds from his followers by dangling the referendum carrot?  I can't read Gary's mind, but I can read his IRS Form 990s, his websites and media quotes.  They reveal a lot.

    Section II. What's in it for Gary?
    1.  A Paycheck.
    I'm not the first to wonder whether Gary might be tilting at the referendum windmill because he needs to justify ongoing fundraising for the organizations he and friends draw salaries from.  But I might be the first to actually dig up the numbers that support the thought.

    Non-profit organizations like Gary's Faith & Freedom Foundation (FFF; a 501(c)3; EIN 83-0388829) and Faith & Freedom Network (FFN; a 501(c)4; EIN 91-1616476) have to file an annual report to the IRS called Form 990.  Form 990s are public information.  The 990s for Gary's organizations can be found here:
    FFF 2005 (received by IRS 1/22/2007)
    FFF 2006 (received by IRS 7/8/2008)
    FFF 2007 (received by IRS 7/8/2008)
    FFN 2005 (received by IRS 1/22/2007)
    FFN 2006 (received by IRS 7/8/2008)
    FFN 2007 (received by IRS 7/8/2008)

    Review of these documents provide some startling and, frankly, quite damning information.  The picture that emerges is one of fundraising to cover salaries and further fundraising, with precious little left over to carry out the mission of the organizations ("program services").  Note that the year that Gary paid himself over $53K was 2006, the year he spearheaded the FAILED I-65 referendum campaign.

    A.  63% of annual revenue (R) was spent on fundraising expenses (FRE), on average.

    OrganizationYearFRE ($)R ($) Revenue spent on fundraising (%)
    B.  Only 25% of total expenses (TE) was spent on program services (PS), on average.

    OrganizationYearPS ($)TE ($) Expenses spent on program services (%)

    Note that in 2005, FFN had to pay an unexplained "penalty" of $11,138. Was this for missing a filing deadline (see "received by IRS" dates above)?

    C.  Gary Randall paid himself a nice salary.

    OrganizationYearGary's Salary ($)Avg. hrs/wk
    In 2005, Robert Higley was also paid $19,575 for an average of 40 hrs/wk.  Salaries often accounted for over 34% of annual revenue.

    I would never begrudge anyone a salary for work done.  However, Gary Randall clearly has mismanaged his organizations largely for the benefit of his salary and fundraising (which apparently gets funneled into salary).  Given the exceedingly low allocation of funds to real program work by FFF and FFN, donors to these organizations or to the Faith & Freedom PAC Gary has set up to receive referendum funds could reasonably expect their money to be frittered away on Gary's salary, Gary's fund raising fees and payments to professional fund raisers. Potential donors should know that Gary Randall has a horrible record of NOT spending funds on the actual program he's selling.

    Incidentally, I noticed that Gary's FFF and FFN are registered with the IRS in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  According to his personal website, most of his life and business history have centered around Oregon, not Washington.  So, although he has a Bellevue, WA PO Box for people to send checks to, could it be that Gary Randall is a CARPETBAGGER?  If so, this would explain why he never signed up to testify on SB 5688 before the House and Senate committees - he isn't a Washingtonian.

    Section II. What's in it for Gary?
    2.  Petitions provide a fresh set of names for a) further fund raising and b) GOP gotv.
    Members of The Washington Hate Coalition have a long history of getting out the vote for the GOP, and have been happy to talk up the fact.  Gary included.  Although Gary has denied using referenda like the failed I-65 as a means of collecting voter data, he betrays himself on his blog (emphasis mine).

    Here are the facts of the now broken agreement between Tim Eyman and Faith and Freedom Network: On the first day that petitions were available for Referendum 65, Faith and Freedom published petitions. The FFN Referendum petitions had the FFN name on them as a return address and avoided the controversial titles of the Eyman version. Eyman's version said "no quotas" even though there was nothing about quotas in the bill and the phrase alienated African American leaders. Eyman's version was also titled "no gay marriage" even though the bill was only very obliquely related to gay marriage. FFN was concerned that the misleading titles might be used by opponents in a legal challenge to overturn the Referendum as they have done to other Eyman initiatives. FFN printed thousands of their version of the Referendum petition but without the questionable titles and without Eyman's name attached. Eyman was upset and wanted all the petitions to come through his office and to bear only his name. In conversations that first weekend, Tim Eyman and FFN agreed that if FFN would withdraw its petitions, Tim Eyman would give copies of all petitions that came in to FFN. It was a simple agreement. That was the full agreement. There were no other conditions to it.

    In other words, they thought Eyman's petitions were misleading and opened up the referendum to a lawsuit, but once Eyman promised to give them copies of the signed sheets, they could ignore those weighty concerns.  As Goldy put it
    [D]espite being fully cognizant of this blatant dishonesty [in petition wording], they cut a deal with Eyman anyway, knowingly permitting misleading petitions to be distributed in their churches.

    During the whole "Referendum Sunday" spat I had strongly criticized ministers for repeating Eyman's lies from the pulpit, suggesting that there might be a Commandment against that. Now it seems clear that Fuiten and Randall at least tacitly endorsed such lies.

    Why would they tacitly endorse lies?  Names.  Lots and lots of GOP base voter names (they hoped).

    In summary, Gary is dangling the referendum carrot to justify ongoing fundraising for the organizations he draws salaries from, and as a future mechanism for gathering voter data.  And voter data can translate into power and more money.  Gary will fail to get a referendum on the ballot, but if his history is any clue, he'll make a nice living off of the attempt.

    Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

  • < On A May-December Romance, Part One, Or, Las Vegas, Segregated | Why Aren't We Fighting for a State Income Tax? >
    Display: Sort:
    The DP Expansion bill just passed in the House, 62 to 35!  It now goes to the governor for a signature.  If you live in Washington and your Rep(s) voted for the bill, please thank them!

    by Lurleen on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 06:54:09 PM PST

    * 1 none 0 *

    Display: Sort:






    Make a new account


    Recommended Diaries

    Washblog RSS Feeds

    Political Contacts

    Local Media

    Coastal/Grays Harbor
    Aberdeen Daily World
    Chinook Observer
    Montesano Vidette
    Pacific County Press
    Willapa Harbor Herald
    KXRO 1320 AM

    Olympic Peninsula
    Peninsula Daily News
    Bremerton Sun
    Bremerton Chronicle
    Gig Harbor Gateway
    Port Orchard Independent
    Port Townsend Leader
    North Kitsap Herald
    Squim Gazette
    Central Kitsap Reporter
    Business Examiner
    KONP 1450 AM

    Sound and Islands
    Anacortes American
    Bainbridge Review
    Voice Of Bainbridge
    San Juan Journal
    The Islands' Sounder
    Whidbey NewsTimes
    South Whidbey Record
    Stanwood/Camano News
    Vashon Beachcomber
    Voice Of Vashon
    KLKI 1340 AM

    North Puget Sound
    Bellingham Herald
    The Northern Light
    Everett Herald
    Skagit Valley Herald
    Lynden Tribune
    The Enterprise
    Snohomish County Tribune
    Snohomish County Business Journal
    The Monroe Monitor
    The Edmonds Beacon
    KGMI 790 AM
    KELA 1470 AM
    KRKO 1380 AM

    Central Puget Sound
    King County Journal
    Issaquah Press
    Mukilteo Beacon
    Voice of the Valley
    Federal Way Mirror
    Bothell/Kenmore Reporter
    Kirkland courier
    Mercer Island Reporter
    Woodinville Weekly

    Greater Seattle
    Seattle PI
    Seattle Times
    KOMO TV 4
    KIRO TV 7
    KING 5 TV
    KTBW TV 22
    KCTS 9
    UW Daily
    The Stranger
    Seattle Weekly
    Capitol Hill Times
    Madison Park Times
    Seattle Journal of Commerce
    NW Asian Weekly
    West Seattle Herald
    North Seattle Herald-Outlook
    South Seattle Star
    Magnolia News
    Beacon Hill News
    KIRO 710 AM
    KOMO AM 1000
    KEXP 90.3 FM
    KUOW 94.9 FM
    KVI 570 AM

    South Puget Sound
    The Columbian
    Longview Daily News
    Nisqually Valley News
    Lewis County News
    The Reflector
    Eatonville Dispatch
    Tacoma News Tribune
    Tacoma Weekly
    Puyallup Herald
    Enumclaw Courier-Herald
    The Olympian
    KAOS 89.3 FM
    KCPQ 13
    KOWA FM 106.5
    UPN 11

    Ellensburg Daily Record
    Levenworth Echo
    Cle Elum Tribune
    Snoqualmie Valley Record
    Methow Valley News
    Lake Chelan Mirror
    Omak chronicle
    The Newport Miner

    The Spokesman-Review
    KREM 2 TV Spokane
    KXLY News 4 Spokane
    KHQ 6 Spokane
    KSPS Spokane
    Othello Outlook
    Cheney Free Press
    Camas PostRecord
    The South County sun
    White Salmon Enterprise
    Palouse Boomerang
    Columbia Basin Herald
    Grand Coulee Star
    Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
    Yakima Herald-Republic
    KIMA 29 Yakima
    KAPP TV 35 Yakima
    KYVE Yakima
    Wenatchee World
    Tri-City Herald
    TVEW TV 42 Tri-cities
    KTNW Richland
    KEPR 19 Pasco
    Daily Sun News
    Prosser Record-Bulletin
    KTCR 1340 AM
    KWSU Pullman
    Moscow-Pullman Daily News