Page 1

anti-electoral college bill passes state senate 4






The Washington State Supreme Court






” Pg No T . 6 ax Ra lly

refused to give state lawmakers the bailout they hoped for by declining to strike down a state law that makes it difficult to raise taxes. The court said the judiciary cannot interfere in an internal legislative process.

State Supreme Court

declines to make tax increases EASIER for legislature




by Michael Reitz


his is a great victory for taxpayers in a time when the legislature is eyeing every possible new revenue source. State law requires all new taxes or fees to be approved by two-thirds of the members of each house. This twothirds vote requirement has served as a moderating influence in the legislature since it was approved by voters in 1993 (Initiative 601). Subsequently, the legislature has re-enacted the law, temporarily suspended it, and

majority, but failed to get the two-thirds vote needed. Sen. Brown asked Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who acts as the president of the Senate, to rule the two-thirds requirement unconstitutional. “A two-thirds requirement to pass certain types of bills, in my opinion, is antidemocratic and violates the Washington constitution,” Brown said. While expressing agreement with Brown, Lt. Gov. Owen ruled that the question is one for the courts to address. This happened on a Friday.

This is a great victory for taxpayers in a time when the legislature is eyeing every possible new revenue source.

Change service requested

modified it with several amendments. But the basic requirement for supermajority approval of tax increases has remained in place. Enter Sen. Lisa Brown (D-Spokane), who led a carefully-choreographed effort against the two-thirds vote requirement. During the 2008 legislative session, she proposed a $10 million liquor tax. The measure passed with a simple

Find out more:

Sen. Brown went to court the next Monday, asking the Supreme Court to order the Lt. Governor to pronounce the bill passed. In order to accomplish this, she asked the court to invalidate the two-thirds requirement. Sen. Brown argued the supermajority vote requirement is unconstitutional under Article II, Section 22 of the Washington Constitution. The provision states: “No bill Continued on page 2 . . .

Pg. 6 t a x S l e u t h . C o m



Supreme Court continued from page 1 . . .

shall become a law unless . . . a majority of the members elected to each house be recorded thereon as voting in its favor.” The Office of the Attorney General, defending the constitutionality of the law, said the language prohibits bills from passing with less than a majority, but does not forestall the possibility of additional supermajority requirements. Obviously, a bill that receives a twothirds vote has also received a simple majority vote and thereby satisfies the constitution’s minimal threshold requirements. Several organizations, including the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, filed amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in support of the Attorney General’s position. During oral arguments, the Supreme Court justices spent little time on the constitutional question. Instead,

they expressed concern about rushing headlong into the legislative process. Several asked why the court should step in when the legislature has the power to amend or repeal the law Sen. Brown is challenging. In fact, one justice asked if Sen. Brown had violated her oath to uphold the constitution by leaving the two-thirds requirement intact when she believes it is unconstitutional. And this is where the court’s unanimous opinion, written by Justice Mary Fairhurst, dwells. The court could only reach the constitutional question if Sen. Brown’s requested order was proper, and the justices said that such an action would violate the separation of powers doctrine. “A ruling by this court overturning the president of the senate’s ruling on a point of order would undermine the constitutional authority of the senate to govern its own proceedings and the lieutenant governor’s duty to preside over those proceedings.” The court pointed out that Brown could have appealed to her colleagues and overturned Owen’s ruling with

“Quote” “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.” – Judge Learned Hand

VOLUME 19, Issue 4 EFF’s mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government.

APRIL 2009

This Issue

3 4 5 6

Publisher: Lynn Harsh Editors: Scott St. Clair Rich Frias Layout: Joel Sorrell

Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 (360) 956-3482 Fax (360) 352-1874 •

a simple majority. Considering all her options, the Supreme Court tartly criticized Brown’s decision to go to court. “Brown appeared to urge Owen to declare [the law] unconstitutional. Owen refused to do so, observing that it is the duty of the judiciary to make legal rulings. Having failed to convince Owen to make a legal determination, she now asks this court to make a parliamentary ruling. We decline to do so.” Justice Fairhurst wrapped things up with this: “This original action is improperly before this court on application for a writ of mandamus and is a nonjusticiable political question. Intervention of this court into an intrahouse dispute over a parliamentary ruling to compel the president of the senate to perform a discretionary duty would be a grave violation of separation of powers. We dismiss the action.”


Letter from lynn | by Lynn Harsh


9 10 11 12





“Reading the opinions so you don’t have to” to know what’s happening at the state Supreme Court? Supreme Court of Want Visit EFF’s new blog at: Washington Blog



LetterLET fromTER Lynn FROM LY NN by Lynn Harsh

Casting Parables before Porkies


upon a time, in a kingdom very near, the Emperor traveled to the hamlet of Denverham to sign a weighty tome in the town square. It was to rid his beloved country of rats. The rodents had started multiplying on a Street called Wall, but citizens and money merchants had already scattered rat food across the land. So the rats spread, carrying disease and devastation with them the likes of which could not be remembered by any but the oldest inhabitants. The ugly creatures invaded homes, crawling from cupboards to closets nibbling on everything in sight. Shopkeepers set traps and offered prayers, but the gnawing and devouring continued. Country Councilors from every hamlet gathered in the Emperor’s town to wring their hands, beat their chests and ponder their fate. Suddenly, the sound of a piper could be heard. It was Henry, son of Paul, from a place called Treasury, with Sachs of Gold(man) on his back. He said his rehabilitation plan would stop the devastation. It was in the form of a Magic TARP, he said, that could woo and capture the rat leaders. But quick action was needed, or rats would devour the land of plenty, he opined. For one shilling a head, he would subdue the rodent chiefs. At first the Councilors were not persuaded, thinking this man must surely be an evil sorcerer. But the cries for help from bankers and mayors in hamlets across the land were multiplying, so the Councilors struck a bargain with the piper. He produced his Magic TARP and began wooing the rats to come hither from yon. A few scampered close and eventually found shelter under its awning. Some rats were whacked on their heads and forced under the TARP. But most were eyeing it warily from afar. This piper had reckoned wrongly. So the Emperor hired another piper —Timothy—the Reserved Piper from New Yorkshire. He claimed he could kill the rats for five shillings a head. Together they decided to convince the Councilors to buy a larger TARP: one called Rescue. They decorated it brightly with little porkies, salary caps and net operating losses. But some of

the Councilors began fighting with each other over the cost of the decorations. The Emperor became angry at this and made a public proclamation: “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee more rats, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future.” The wise men of the land chided the Councilors and warned them of the horrors to come. Then they asked them to raise their hands if they were in favor of paying more shillings for the Rescue TARP. But not enough Councilors raised their hands—they were three votes short! So, the wise men plotted together to determine who they might persuade. It did not take long for them to choose their targets and their method of persuasion. They replaced some of the little porkies with tax cuts and stimulus checks. This proved successful in wooing three more Councilors. Surely this would entice the rats from their hamlets. But the piper had not been paid. The

squares to talk about ways to kill the rats and preserve their children’s future. Leaders emerged—people who were unafraid of threats from the Emperor and the Country Councilors. Some of the leaders were Councilors who had voted against buying the Rescue TARP. Others seemed to come from nowhere. A few had talking batons that multiplied their voices across the kingdom. In hamlets hither and yon, leaders began to teach the inhabitants about shillings, TARPS and rats. They used music, food and plays to reach the youth whose futures were at stake. They organized resistance and offered remedies. Rats in some houses and businesses began to die of starvation, but most still carried the plague. Soon Councilors realized they needed to extend the TARP. But they could not borrow enough shillings from the people and from countries across the water to extend it. So, they decided that Bearded Ben, keeper of the Reserve, should make more shillings; and he did.

“People became angry about the rats that would not go away.” Councilors and their multitude of advisors argued with each other over whose shillings should pay for the behemoth Rescue TARP. “I’ve already tried,” said Bearded Ben, keeper of the shop called Reserve. “We cannot,” said giant landowners MacFreddie and MaeFannie. “Don’t take my shillings away,” said the behemoth ACORN pawing through his assorted nuts. So, paying the piper was put off for a future day. And this begins the future-day tale, whose ending might read like this. Once upon a time, in a kingdom very near, people in rat-infested hamlets across the kingdom cheered their Emperor and the Country Councilors for buying a Rescue TARP. Most of the weary inhabitants trusted the Emperor and hoped that he and the piper were right about the rat-killing powers of the costly Rescue TARP. They believed what the Country Councilors had told them about a nearby pile of shillings that could be used to pay the piper. But other people in hamlets across the land knew that the shillings to be used by the Councilors really belonged to their children. They began to meet in town

When it appeared the rats were developing a shilling resistance, the Councilors were beside themselves! As more people became angry about the rats that would not go away, many of the Councilors were removed from their posts and returned to their own hamlets. Even the beloved Emperor discovered he was at risk. Finally, the majority of the weary inhabitants were convinced of the truth: they would have to kill their own rats to save their children’s future. For some of them, the cost was great, but they rallied around their children. Now peace has returned to the land. It is rat-free, and the children are rebuilding their futures, grateful for the courage of their parents and those few brave Councilors who understood that magic TARPS do not create happy endings.


Anti-Electoral College bill passes State Senate


by Trent England


bill to sidestep the Electoral College (SB 5599) was the last bill to pass the State Senate before a key legislative cutoff at 5 p.m. on March 12. An identical bill in the House (HB 1598) failed to pass before the cutoff. The Senate bill now moves to the House for another attempt on that side of the Capitol. The legislation, called National Popular Vote (NPV), would take effect only after being enacted by enough states to represent a majority of electoral votes (270 or more). It would require the state to give all of its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who received the most votes nationwide, regardless of who won the most votes in that state. While leaving the Electoral College structure in place, this would have the effect of guaranteeing the presidency to whichever candidate won the most individual votes. The Electoral College is part of the original United States Constitution. It was created to insure the independence of the President, balance the interests of large and small states, protect against corruption, and provide for political moderation. Currently, Washington and 47 other states give their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes within that state (the winner-take-all method). Maine and Nebraska award one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district and two electoral votes to the statewide winner. The Electoral College system requires candidates to build broad, national coalitions to have a chance of winning the presidency. It also forces candidates to focus more on the most evenly divided and moderate states. These effects are key moderating and unifying influences on American politics.

“The Electoral College system requires candidates to build broad, national coalitions to have a chance of winning the presidency.” NPV would short-circuit the Electoral College, creating an entirely different political system from the top down. Rather than funneling politics toward the middle and into two large parties, it would encourage radical splinter movements and divisive and extreme candidates. And it would increase the power of big city political machines and decrease the influence of small town and rural America. More than half the American population lives within the nation’s 40 largest metropolitan areas. Because campaigning in cities is already easier than campaigning in rural areas, campaign strategists would have to focus on cities and denselypopulated suburbs to have any chance to win. NPV is the brainchild of Dr. John Koza, inventor of the scratch-off lottery ticket. Dr. Koza made a fortune successfully lobbying state governments to adopt scratch ticket lotteries. Since 2001, he has donated over $50,000 to Democratic and Socialist candidates. National Popular Vote legislation has already been enacted in Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey, and is pending in the legislatures of nearly every other state.

The Crisis of Native American education in Washington— Failure: Our model for success? by Diana Cieslak


preliminary study of data collected for The Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Report Card on Washington’s Elementary Schools highlighted one group in need of urgent attention. Out of over eleven hundred elementary schools covered in the report, Native American tribal schools and public schools with high percentages of Native American students rank at the bottom. On a 0 to 10 scale (with a 6.0 state average), two-thirds of schools with over 60% Native American students don’t even reach a 3.0, and between 39% and 72% of those students are failing the tests. Clearly, these children are in trouble. Our staff started asking questions and found that we’re not alone in our concern about the “Native American achievement gap.” A $150,000 (state funded) report entitled “From Where the Sun Rises” was presented to the state Legislature this year with proposals for closing the gap. Their recommendations? Teach Native culture, Native history, and Native languages (with no mention

students outperform most of the state, with many going on to receive scholarships from institutions like Johns Hopkins University, Oberlin College, and others. EFF hosted Dr. Chavis for a week in March in order to give our members—and our legislators—an opportunity to meet him and to hear his perspective from the other side of success. According to Dr. Chavis, studying culture isn’t the ticket to high academic performance. In fact he called the report before the Legislature, “the perfect, best designed plan for destroying kids”—which is exactly what is happening in tribal schools—evidenced in schools like Chief Leschi Tribal School by its 11.2% ontime graduation rate in 2007 (according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction). Money isn’t the ticket either. AIPCS spends nearly $2,000 less per student than Washington’s average public schools, while some schools with majority Native American student populations get almost $10,000 more per student than average. So what is Dr. Chavis’ secret? Structure, discipline, competition, and core academics, with a special emphasis on math. Also, his unique model of having middle school students in the same classroom all day provides needed stability during a trying time of life. In response to the emphasis currently placed on “emotional well-being” (instead of academics), Dr. Chavis says, “If you reward kids for hard work, they’ll feel good.”

“. . . the American Indian Public Charter School—formerly one of the worst schools in Oakland— climbed the charts to the top four in the state. “ Beating the odds in Oakland, CA is renowned Native American education reformer, Dr. Ben Chavis. of academics). While there is nothing wrong with studying one’s culture, when it comes to academics, these proposals are as old as the hills and yield the same results wherever they have been tried: Failure! In 2008, three out of a sampling of five tribal schools failed to reach a 1.0 (out of 10), and failure rates ranged from 64% to 96% (where data is available). Yet the report before the Legislature states that “our public school colleagues can learn from the experiences of their tribal school colleagues.” Legislators are being told to use the worst schools as their model. Fortunately, there are schools that prove success is possible, and EFF is tracking them down. Beating the odds in Oakland, CA is renowned Native American education reformer (and star of EFF’s awardwinning documentary, Flunked), Dr. Ben Chavis. Under his leadership, the American Indian Public Charter School—formerly one of the worst schools in Oakland—climbed the charts to the top four in the state. Now operating four middle schools and one high school, AIPCS defies the stereotype that poor children from non-English speaking minority families do not succeed academically. AIPCS reports that 97% of their students qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch program, 98% are minorities, and more than 74% speak English as a second language. Yet these

And he does reward them—literally. Perfect attendance is a payable skill at AIPCS, and the monetary motivation Dr. Chavis provides—out of his own pocket—does the trick. The kids come, and they work hard. “From Where the Sun Rises” is a new spin on an old— and failed—idea. Like a fresh coat of paint on a sinking ship, it merely distracts from the real problem and does nothing to save its passengers. These ideas have had tragic effects on Washington’s Native American children. Rather than letting research groups repaint the ship while the kids are trapped inside bailing water, why not look to schools like the American Indian Public Charter School for our model of success? Washington is not without its own success stories—like Clallam Bay Elementary (which is half a point shy of meeting the state average). Data from our soon-to-be-released School Report Card will allow us to find them. Truth is in the numbers. Imitating failure will produce failure; imitating success just might turn things around. And Washington cannot afford to lose another generation.

In order to maximize its impact, the launch of EFF’s Report Card on Washington’s Elementary Schools has been postponed until May 6. Check out the numbers on Native American education in our press release at



visit to the Reagan Ranch Irene’s Impressions A by Irene Endicott


hose of us who revere the name of Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), the 40th President of the United States, can recall his policies that reversed trends toward big government and economic malaise, giving his fellow citizens confidence that America still is the shining city on a hill. We know much about the public, political Reagan. I recently had the privilege of learning about the private Ronald Reagan while attending the annual Western Women’s Summit sponsored by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. The conference was held in Santa Barbara, CA at the Reagan Ranch Center and included a tour of the Reagan Ranch—Rancho del Cielo (Ranch in the Sky). Some recollections and impressions from the tour: • President Reagan ordered that his horses be separately stabled from the Secret Service horses and that he be personally billed for their housing and daily care. He did not want the federal government and the American taxpayers to pay for anything that was his personal responsibility. • Adjacent to the ranch buildings is a pet cemetery, the final resting place for every Reagan pet; his favorite bull, Duke; his dogs, cats and horses, including his big white stallion, El Alamein, named for the great victory over the Axis in World War II.

had two twin beds, so they brought them to the ranch and pushed them close together. He secured the old metal headboards with plastic twist ties which are still there. He reportedly said, “These are perfectly good beds. No sense paying for new ones.” • In purposeful plain view from the Reagan bedroom window, under a huge tree, stands a very old outhouse which he had brought to the ranch from his childhood home in Illinois as a constant reminder of his humble roots. • On the property is Lake Lucky, which was a pond dredged out and enlarged by Reagan and a couple of friends. The President named it and built the dock out onto the lake himself. The man who told Gor-


bachev to “Tear Down This Wall!” was often heard telling visitors that the building of the small dock on his lake was his greatest achievement. Evergreen Freedom Foundation trustee Barbara Kenney was also on the tour and offered this observation: “The 1200 sq. ft. ranch house shows President Reagan’s humility and strong character. He built the fences we passed by. He laid the floors we walked on. The way he lived his life—simply, ethically and patriotically—was the way he governed the country. We miss the greatness of the man.” With her I ask, “Who is the next Reagan to lead our country?”

c o m p l i m e n ta ry w or k s hop f or


m e m b e rs a n d f r i e n d s

Pl anning for Life MAY 14




Responding to requests from EFF mem-

Protect assets from taxes (especially the death tax)

bers, this workshop is presented for those

Learn about Charitable Remainder Trusts

who want to know how to make plans to

Learn about Living Trusts, wills and annuities

protect hard-earned assets now as well as

Use your life values in estate planning

when the end of life comes. Perhaps you

Choose the right tools for your particular situation

have never gotten around to doing this.

Discuss the current turbulent economy

Maybe you have a plan that needs a tune-

Learn where to get help

up. If you are unsure that your estate plan is complete and up to date, this workshop will give you new ideas and tools that


work. The presenters have been carefully

Alan W. Pratt, CEP, CAP Founder, Pratt Legacy Advisors, specializing in family wealth preservation through his Legacy Planning from the Heart seminars.

selected. Each is expert in his field. And they both love liberty! Please feel free to bring your attorney or other professional family advisor. No ser• It was awe-inspiring to stand before the simple fireplace with a black screen and be told that Reagan stoked the fire there for Margaret Thatcher and the Queen of England. Photographs tell the tale. • Upon her return to England from her visit to the ranch, the Queen wrote a letter to Reagan saying, “I enjoyed the taco sandwich and the re-used beans.” • When then-General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev visited the ranch, it was reported that, upon returning to his country, he commented that he enjoyed being with his American friend but that the ranch was awful —a president should have a more beautiful home. President Reagan presented Gorbachev with a white Stetson, which Gorbachev wore all during his visit to the ranch. No one had the heart to correct him when he put it on his head backwards, so all the official photos of Gorbachev with the Reagans show him with hat brim in the back. • Emotions peaked as I stood in the Reagan bedroom where it was explained that he and Nancy already

vices are sold at this workshop. No one

William C. Larson, MBA, AIFA Twenty years of wealth management, helping clients transform complexity into opportunity and build a lasting legacy consistent with their values.

will ask you to sign up for anything. The entire day is free, including lunch. It will be a day full of great information and good conversation. We look forward to having you with us.

Please RSVP by contacting Laurie at 1-800-769-6617 by May 11, 2009. Thursday, May 14, 2009

975 Carpenter Road N.E.

9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Lacey, WA 98516

Washington Farm Bureau

Complimentary luncheon

Conference Room, Third Floor

Free parking


LIVING LIBERTY to help with detective work on state, local taxes by Brett Davis


t’s said there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. We can’t help you with the former. As for the latter, rather than waiting for government to act on tax transparency—an iffy proposition given the politicallysensitive nature of the topic and the state’s often glacially slow pace—the Evergreen Freedom Foundation is set to launch a comprehensive state and local tax website that makes it easier for Washingtonians to find their true tax burden. On April 15—Tax Day—EFF’s TaxSleuth. com will go live. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon observed that, “The nation should have a tax system that looks like someone designed it on purpose.” That sentiment could just as easily apply to Washington state’s confusing tax code. Many tax rates are currently available from various sources, but must be searched one at a time; and finding them can be difficult for the average citizen who is not sure where to look. Under the state’s current tax structure, it’s all but impossible for citizens to determine how much tax they pay in a year. aims to partner with people to assist in the detective work of determining the cost of government services on a personal level. Visitors to will be able to click on an interactive flash map or enter their zip code to get a comprehensive list of state and local taxes for their chosen location. Through the site, users will be able to gauge the average annual tax paid

by an individual and calculate an approximate annual total for all state and local taxes paid. The site will include calculators for various types of sales and property taxes so users can fill in the estimated dollar amount they believe they spend in a year— including special products such as cigarettes and liquor that are taxed at different rates—and the assessed value of their property for a personalized calculation of their tax burden. The property tax calculation would include special levy rates such as school, library, fire, transit and others. Once users have filled in all the blanks, they would be able to figure out their entire state and local tax burden in a year and even compare it to the average t a x S l e u Washington resident’s annual tax load. The site will also include some visually-appealing graphics, such as pie charts and graphs to show major tax categories and tax trends over time. will also provide a list of business tax rates for the chosen zip code and show the average yearly state and local tax burden for a business at three different revenue levels—low, medium and high. We will also link to exemptions and note that certain services, products and particular businesses—Boeing, for example—are


given special privileges by legislative decree. Meant to appeal more to John and Jane Public than budget nerds, policy wonks and tax experts, TaxSleuth. com will increase the ease of public access to state and local tax rates, as well as contributing to a better understanding of the true cost of government. Tax transparency helps citizens learn more about what government decisions mean to their wallets and removes the air of mystery that often surrounds taxation. We hope will be replicated by other groups—or even governments— in other states, and that tax transparency will be the next major step in government h . C o m accountability nationwide. In fact, we would be happy if the state of Washington went ahead and created its own online searchable database of all tax districts and tax rates in the state, rendering obsolete. In the meantime, visit on April 15. If you like the site and want to support its continued existence, send in a donation to EFF—click on “Contribute” in the upper right corner of our website,—and designate it for Happy gumshoeing, taxpayers!

When: April 15, noon Where: Olympia, Capitol Steps

When: April 15, 4:30-6:00pm Where: spokane convention center (OUTDOOR BREEZEWAY)

Who: You! Why: It’s your money! Go to

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) Push Back No New Tax Rally went off beautifully! Around 20 volunteers showed by Lasse Lund up on the Capitol grounds from 11a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to wave signs, dialogue with passersby, and take a stand for working Washingtonians, many of whom signed the Push Back petition. State employee unions were also there, rallying for increased taxes so that their members could get a cost of living raise and guaranteed employment.  Their turnout, however, was far less than originally expected. Instead of the thousand advertised, only about 150 people showed up for free hotdogs and a quick speech.  The Push Back counter-rally struck a blow for all Washington taxpayers.  It’s part of an effort that will

Push Back Recap—Rally Successful for more information

build up to an April 15 Push Back No Tax Rally on the north Capitol steps in Olympia—a movement that is part of a nation-wide reaction to the government’s response to the current economic situation. Find out more at Push Back rally participants came from all over western Washington to participate. Video and more pictures of the event can also be found at You can also tune into a podcast at for a video recap and analysis of the rally.

Why Push Back by Lasse Lund

In my younger years, the school playground could be a tough place—jocks on the football field, girls on the jungle gym, and bullies…bullies everywhere. I usually man-

aged to keep my distance from them, but I did have my fair share of encounters. My name was enough to draw harsh criticisms. One spring day, however, everything changed… The kids at my school invented a new game that involved the monkey bars. We would often spend our whole recess playing match after match.  One big kid (I can’t remember his name) was six feet tall, lanky and would dominate the game, using his size to push smaller kids (me included) out of the way.   One day, after repeatedly getting shoved to the ground, I got mad…and PUSHED BACK.  I tackled him to the ground, and after a short, stunned silence, rose up from the dirt to thunderous applause and cheering from my peers.  I was a modern day David, having slain the giant —that bully never controlled that game again. Continued on next page




Dr. Ben Chavis Ben Chavis is a renowned and controversial education reformer. As principal of the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, California, he turned what used to be the worst school in the city into one of the top performing schools in the state.

Jeff Benedict

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers is serving her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives for Washington’s 5th Congressional District. Representative McMorris Rodgers is working to expand economic opportunities for the Northwest region, improve access to quality, affordable health care, and keep our communities and nation safe.

Edwin Meese III Edwin Meese served from 1985 to 1988, during the Reagan administration, as the 75th attorney general of the United States. Before that, he held the position of counselor to the president and was also a member of the president’s cabinet and the National Security Council. Mr. Meese now serves at the Heritage Foundation as the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. THE



Why Push Back Continued from page 6 . . .



Jeff Benedict is an award-winning investigative journalist and the best-selling author of seven books. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, and the Hartford Courant.  His books have been the bases for features on 60 Minutes, ABC News 20/20, Dateline, HBO Real Sports and the Discovery Channel.  He is a Distinguished Professor at Southern Virginia University, where he teaches advanced writing and a class on politics and law.

KENDRA TODD Kendra Todd gained national notoriety in 2005 as the first woman and the youngest competitor to win Donald Trump’s NBC prime-time show The Apprentice. Her first book Risk & Grow Rich is a best-seller and targets the challenges and importance of taking risks to create wealth, and directly confronts how our relationship to risk affects our lives. Kendra currently hosts the critically acclaimed HGTV series My House Is Worth What?, serves as the Money Expert for The Montel Williams Show and is a columnist for Yahoo! Real Estate. She is also a regular real estate contributor on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. Most recently, Kendra has launched, an online wealth empowerment resource for women.

Listen in! THE



it will affect people who have already lost their jobs or businesses, then pass the cost onto all of us. As I did on that sunny spring day, the citizens of In the playground of modern America, citizens face Washington decided to PUSH BACK! On March 17, many giants—people who use their influence, clout, and 2009, several gathered on the Capitol Campus in Olymmoney to do things their way. But their way isn’t nec- pia to let the legislature and public-sector unions know essarily the best for our country. They insert earmarks that Washington citizens do not want new taxes.  We into Congressional bills and pass the cost onto Joe Tax- held signs, we wore T-shirts, we STOOD IN THE GAP payer. Despite record deficits, they increase spending on for other Washingtonians who couldn’t attend—we let government programs, then pass the cost on to citizens.  our voices be heard.  See the previous article for more They increase taxes and fees with little regard for how details.


This was only the beginning, however. On April 15, 2009 hundreds more will gather on the Capitol steps and in Spokane to echo the same message—NO MORE TAXES! Will you join us? Find out more at PUSHBACKNOTAX.COM.

See pictures of the March 17th event at



U.S. Supreme Court: Government can stay out of union political fundraising by Michael Reitz


he U.S. Supreme Court dealt unions a serious blow in the case of Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association on February 24, 2009. The issue was whether the First Amendment requires local governments to collect political funds for public employee unions. The Supreme Court decision is a victory for orderly state-labor relations, and it’s a victory for taxpayers, who shouldn’t be forced to subsidize private political fundraising. Background on the Court’s decision: In 2003 the Idaho Legislature passed the Voluntary Contributions Act, which prohibits state and local governments from using the public payroll system for collecting political contributions. Several unions sued Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, challenging the law as a violation of their free speech rights. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that the state could ban this practice for its own employees, but the state could not meddle in the affairs of local government bodies, such as school districts or city governments. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. We did so for several reasons: for one, EFF assisted the Idaho Legislature when it crafted the law. Also, we believe that private organizations should not be able to utilize a government system to collect political contributions. Union members who want to contribute to the union’s political fund can do so privately and individually. Finally, the Ninth Circuit’s logic could have had a devastating effect on a state’s ability to regulate public employees. In a 6-3 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the Idaho law as constitutional.

“The First Amendment prohibits government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech’; it does not confer an affirmative right to use government payroll mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining funds for expression. Idaho’s law does not restrict political speech, but rather declines to promote that speech by allowing public employee checkoffs for political activities. Such a decision is reasonable in light of the State’s interest in avoiding the appearance that carrying out the public’s business is tainted by partisan political activity.”

thus is not subject to strict scrutiny.’ ” The Ninth Circuit had ruled that the state legislature could not ban political withholdings at the local government level. The Supreme Court dismissed this argument completely. “Given the relationship between the State and its political subdivisions, however, it is immaterial how the State allocates funding or management responsibilities between the different levels of government.” What impact does the ruling have for Washington?

“The First Amendment prohibits government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech’; it does not confer an affirmative right to use government payroll mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining funds for expression.” – Chief Justice, John Roberts The unions claimed that the Idaho Legislature violated their free speech by eliminating political withholdings. The Court disagreed. “While in some contexts the government must accommodate expression, it is not required to assist others in funding the expression of particular ideas, including political ones. ‘[A] legislature’s decision not to subsidize the exercise of a fundamental right does not infringe the right, and

Washington state currently allows political contributions to be withheld from a public employee’s paycheck. In the interest of stepping out of political fundraising, the legislatures could ban the use of public resources. But a more significant issue was resolved in Ysursa. Had the Supreme Court ruled for the unions, there would have been significant fallout. States have a wide variety of labor laws: bans on public employee strikes, bans on using public resources for political activity, and protections for union members, to name a few. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Idaho could not regulate local labor relations as the rule affected the unions’ First Amendment rights. If this were upheld, it would have undermined many reasonable laws, and would have Balkanized labor relations in every state, making uniform regulations almost impossible. By rejecting this argument, the Supreme Court preserves many reasonable labor regulations, and affirms that states may indeed regulate their political subdivisions.

Labor Council’s overreach too clever by half by Michael Reitz


pro-labor bill touted as a remedy for supposed employer bullying was yanked by Democrats who finally tired of union bullying. A bill to place limits on what employers could communicate to their employees on political and religious issues failed this session because an email from the Washington State Labor Council linked campaign contributions to potential action on the bill. The bill in question, HB 1528/SB 5446, was called the “Worker Privacy Act” by organized labor and the “Employer Gag Bill” by opponents. Here is the phrase from the WSLC email that caused the concern: “Union leaders would send a message to the State Democratic party and to the Truman and Roosevelt [Democratic political] funds from the House and Senate that ‘not another dime from labor’ until the Governor signs the Worker Privacy Act.” The linking of votes and money caused Gov. Chris Gregoire, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, and House Speaker Frank Chopp to issue a joint statement that they were “no longer considering action” on the bill because “the email raises serious legal and ethical questions.” The Washington State Patrol investigated the matter but found no criminal wrongdoing -- such as bribery -on the part of the WSLC. The state Public Disclosure Commission may investigate whether the WSLC used “undue influence” in lobbying.

Rick Bender, president of the State Labor Council, said the email was “inadvertently delivered to the offices of several Washington State legislators.” But Bender also tried to place the blame on lawmakers for “making a political decision” to set the bill aside. The WSLC gave more than $270,000 in political contributions last year. The death of this legislation came as a surprise to many people, but it is not the first time we have encountered the concept of quid pro quo in politics. Last year the Evergreen Freedom Foundation raised the question of labor union campaign contributions flowing to the governor while she was running for reelection and at the same time negotiating new labor agreements. While nothing may have happened in those collective bargaining sessions, the fact that they occur behind closed doors at least gives the appearance of impropriety. Gov. Gregoire received more than $13,000 in direct campaign contributions from public-sector unions last year. This figure does not include indirect, soft-money contributions. The Evergreen Progress PAC, financed almost entirely by organized labor, raised and spent more than $6.3 million in 2008, primarily for Gregoire’s re-election campaign. Relationships between Gregoire and public unions have soured lately due to disputes over pay increases and the state budget. Recent comments by Washington Federation of State Employees President Carol Dotlich seemed to link union campaign activity with what they expected to be easy contract approval from the governor

and legislature: “As you know our members went to the mat for this governor. To us if the boss thinks there’s no value in unionization beyond campaigns, that’s union busting.” Also, in EFF’s 2008 State of Labor report we catalogued several bills that expanded publicsector unions, showed who voted for those bills, and revealed how much those unions gave in campaign contributions. The latest votes-for-money scheme may just be another whirl on the merry-go-round of coercion between labor unions and some politicians. It also raises concerns about whether votes on other bills -- past or present -- have been unduly influenced by campaign contributions. What about the votes on union priorities such as unionizing daycares, expanding collective bargaining for higher education, or placing limitations on successful trade association workers’ comp “retro” programs? Were they legitimate or not? To help clear up this murky picture of influence peddling, EFF suggests ideas such as opening to public scrutiny the collective bargaining sessions between public unions and the government, increasing the amount of union financial disclosure available to union workers and the public, and allowing workers increased ability to opt out of their unions. This latest labor union scandal should remind us of the need for more union accountability.




want to invest in the


Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

Dear Friend of EFF, While we welcome every gift, our greatest need is reliable monthly support. It is imperative for reaching our goals. Please consider monthly giving as a way to invest in the cause of freedom. Our secure e-Giving System ensures that more of your contribution goes directly to our work. Cordially,

Please mail or fax in this form (fax 360-352-1874) or call 360-956-3482. We will send you a confirmation letter for your records. Bank Debit/Credit Card Donation Authorization I request my bank or credit card company to transfer funds in the amount of $ each month until further notice. I understand that I am in full control of my donation, and that I can decide to make any changes or discontinue the service at any time by calling 360-956-3482 or writing to EFF. Please indicate your preferred withdrawal date:




...Because Freedom M atters!

I would like to give a one time gift of $ Signature (required for bank and credit card donations)


Checking Account e-Giving Systems (Attach a voided check) Savings Account e-Giving Systems (Attach a voided deposit slip) VISA



Credit card #

AMERICAN EXPRESS Expiration date

Personal Information Name



City, State, Zip



Your Donations to EFF are Tax Deductible!



Corner by Juliana McMahan

Ways to Reduce Your Income Tax Bill


f you are like me, you hate paying the government your hard-earned money to support programs that are wasteful or inefficient. And let’s be honest, the vast majority of government programs have both wasteful and inefficient components. And don’t even get me started talking about the number of government pro-

grams that I think the government has no business doing at all! That is why I want to give the IRS as little of my money as possible. There are many legitimate tax deductions provided for in the income tax laws. One of the most popular deductions is the “charitable contribution.” I am happy to report that the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF) is a genuine, IRS-certified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. In other words, all contributions to EFF are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law…both personal and business contributions. There are a number of ways you may be able get a tax deduction* and support EFF’s work, including: • Donating appreciated stocks (you may avoid capital gains taxes) • Making gifts through your will (you can often reduce your estate taxes) • Setting up a trust fund (you can often reduce your income taxes)

• Establishing a Chair or Center at EFF (e.g. Wilson Budget Chair, Smith Education Chair—usually taxdeductible) • Making in-kind contributions (the fair market value is usually tax-deductible) • Volunteering at our office (not tax deductible, but it helps to reduce our expenses) • Giving cash contributions (an old tax-deductible favorite) Don’t forget that many companies offer matching contributions for their employees (and sometimes retirees too). Check with your employer to see if they will match your gift to tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations like EFF! To learn more about these or any other options, please call me at (360) 956-3482 or * For information about the tax-deductibility of any option, please consult your tax attorney or accountant about your specific circumstances.



The compassion conundrum by Scott St. Clair


auren Barnhart, Evergreen Freedom Foundation staff member Judy Parkins’ daughter and the guest author of last month’s Diary of a Freedom Loving Mom (Judy’s regular column), is a principled and accomplished young woman. She’s also gutsy—she has to be to wear her beliefs and her search for truth so thoroughly on her sleeve. Good for her. That being said, while she’s passionate in her regard for people who are hurting, she’s also wrong in her assessment as to how to help them, how best to express compassion. This from a father of five adult children, one of whom, together with his wife, also supported Barack Obama. Lauren’s article, What Does Compassion Look Like?, generated a flood of letters to the editor, with a sampling appearing in this month’s Living Liberty. While some were quite pointed, all were thoughtful and addressed a variety of differing points from differing perspectives. Themes that were expressed in the letters included: • It’s not government’s job to define “compassion;” • If we want compassion - which is a good thing - we need to demonstrate it ourselves; • We have a crisis of values, not a crisis of not enough tax-funded assistance; • Government help won’t solve the problem—it will only exacerbate it; • Politicians pander and lie—it’s in their nature; and

• Monopoly games stir heated passion and gritted teeth irrespective of age. What makes Lauren unique is her demonstrated track record of putting her money (and that raised from others through her efforts and those of her friends) where her mouth is. $58,000 for displaced children in Uganda is nothing to sneeze at. She doesn’t just talk the talk – this young woman walks the walk. Still, asking government to pick up the slack for those who barely talk the talk creates more problems than it solves. Every penny spent by government in furtherance of so-called compassion has to come from somewhere. That “somewhere” is either the pockets of taxpayers who then don’t have it to spend compassionately themselves, or it has to be borrowed (the Chinese?), making it the deficit-spending, interest-accruing responsibility of our children and grandchildren who will be in need of compassionate help themselves to pay off the bill. Lauren isn’t alone, however. Aside from my son and his wife, another EFF staff member’s granddaughter supported Pres. Obama. How is it that so many young adults raised in freedom-loving, genuinely compassionate homes got swept up in Obamamania, a phenomenon that is turning out to be breathtaking in destroying freedom? Part of the answer is what Lauren said last month: “I find the ideology I identify with and the narrative of the

American people to be at odds with one another.” Because we’ve become accustomed (to the point of addiction) to government doing it all for us, we’ve lost sight of our collective responsibility to do it for ourselves —including helping others. Why should I give to good causes when the government takes so much to redistribute? And if conservative ideology is sound, why is there still misery and suffering? It seems that the more the government takes and redistributes (all in the name of “compassion,” mind you), the more problems arise, which almost serves to answer both questions. Whether it’s a case of tax dollars fertilizing the growth of the problem, or societal ills sucking greater amounts of resources from the people, the only thing that is certain is that government efforts toward resolution do not have a good track record. Government, which is the ultimate blunt object, cannot be compassionate. Only individual human beings are capable of expressing an emotional response to pain and suffering that prompts concrete action to alleviate it—and then only with their own resources. Asking government to be compassionate is like asking a stump to sing Vissi d’Arte, Vissi d’Amore from Puccini’s Tosca. Ain’t gonna happen.

Letters to Living Liberty

Studies show that people who believe that the government is responsible for increasing income equality are substantially less likely to volunteer their time or donate their money than people who do not believe this. Even more telling, a liberal who votes for government spending on a particular social program is statistically less likely to voluntarily donate to that program, regardless of the voting outcome, than a conservative who votes against the program. What does compassion look like?  It looks like Lauren raising money for children in Uganda.  It looks like you attending EFF’s Planning for Life workshop to set up a charitable remainder trust.  It does not look like a politician magnanimously voting for government aid, or me voting for that politician. 

medical care won’t help because doctors treat symptoms and can do nothing about underlying parental behavior. You asked for help reconciling your conservative political views with your compassion. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Lack of money didn’t put any of those people where they are. Every one of them has some physical, mental, or spiritual problem. Although money is often needed as a stopgap, it won’t do any good unless underlying causes are addressed. Why don’t you change the world? Teach respect for the human life or show people how to eat well or convince everyone of the moral necessity of being responsible. You could become the mother of a truly brave new world. Jim Livingston Olympia, WA

by Scott St. Clair


n last month’s edition, Living Liberty invited readers to comment on an article written

by Lauren Barnhart, daughter of Judy Parkins who writes the monthly column, Diary of a Freedom-Loving Mom. Below is a representative sampling of the letters. Living Liberty wants to thank each reader who took the time and effort to write. While it’s impossible to print every one, the value of each letter is represented in the ones below.

Angela R. Morrill Attorney at Law Cook, WA

Dear Editor: What does compassion look like?  When a liberal sees a need, he asks “what can the government do to help?”  Then he searches the tax rolls and looks for “better” ways to give away other people’s money. When a conservative sees a need, he asks “what can I do to help?”  Then he searches his heart and looks for “better” ways to give away his own money.   Empirically, Americans are charitable: approximately 75 percent of Americans donate money to charity at an average rate of 3.5 percent of gross household income, or 2 percent of U.S. GDP.  50 percent of Americans donate their time, and most charitable giving does not go to “religious” activities. Four primary factors correlate with charitableness: religion, skepticism about the government in economic life, strong families, and personal entrepreneurism. 

Dear Lauren; A teacher and I used to take some of her students on Saturday outings. One 10-year-old boy showed me the lunch his mother had packed for him. A juice box with 10 percent real juice, a jelly sandwich on white, potato chips, candy bar, store bought cookies, and triumphantly he holds up a homemade cookie “because my mother loves me so much”. The next time we picked him up he was crying with a red handprint on his face. He had been playing a new video game with his father and won. The father got mad, slapped the boy, then threw a lamp at the television. Children in America aren’t hungry and malnourished for lack of money. More food stamps won’t put lettuce on his plate or stop his parents from buying cigarettes. Free

Lauren, With your background in helping to campaign for conservatives (or at least Republicans) and then going to a liberal Oregon college, I can imagine how your thinking processes got messed up. Candidates aren’t always truthful. They strive to reinvent themselves so as to appeal to their audience. McCain did this, and so did Hillary, but no one has ever done it as successfully as Obama. His Saul Alinsky group-manipulation techniques were very successful. The main stream media were his strongest supporters, and their constant repetition of popular slogans created false pictures. People clamored for “change,” even if they didn’t know what kind of change Obama is determined to bring. Now we know: industry-crippling Socialism, high taxes, and forfeiture of our sovereignty to the United Nations. You were deceived by your emotions. Joe Earley Raymond, WA

Continued on next page




of a Freedom Loving Mom… by Judy Parkins

Nick and taxes—two certain things |


ill Judy Barnhart please report to the nurses office immediately. Judy Barnhart, to the nurse’s office immediately!” I was just coming out of the school’s café with a latte in my hand when I heard the secretary’s panicked announcement over the schoolwide P.A. system. Two years earlier I had accepted the job as Director of Marketing at Life Christian School in Tacoma and enrolled my four children. It was a Godsend. We got up together, drove to school together and came home together. We were on the same campus all day and I could see them or check on them anytime I wanted. What more could a single mom want?! Never in two years had I heard an announcement like the one I just heard—with my name in it! With a final deep breath, chanting, “Stay calm. Stay calm. Stay calm.” I walked into the nurse’s office prepared for mass quantities of blood, protruding bones or uncontrollable screams of anguish. I saw nothing but my 14 year old son Taylor calmly sitting on the bed and Debbie, the school nurse, quietly writing at her desk. She looked up and in her direct, bossy way barked, “Judy, you need to take Taylor to his pediatrician right now. I’ve called ahead and told them you were coming. I’ve checked Taylor out of school. You will need to find a ride home for your other children because he may end up in the hospital. Taylor’s blood pressure is 152/97 and at 14 years old it can’t be there. It needs to come down. Now.” It took me a few minutes to switch gears and take in the fact that Taylor was looking sheepish, not tortured by pain. Blood pressure?! That was not right. Taylor was the healthiest of all my children. He had an annual physical every year to play sports. As the starting center on the football team, he worked out every day in the weight room. He was running several miles a week and I knew for a fact his appetite was healthy, and he was sleeping fine. It did not add up. We sat in the parking lot and I found myself unable to start the car. I looked at Taylor and asked him a simple question, “What are you stressed about?” He answered without hesitation. “Having to live with Nick is killing me! I can’t do what you are asking me to do any more.” I knew exactly what he meant and, more important, I knew he was right. Nick was Taylor’s nine-year-old

brother. Nick lived to cause chaos in our home. Truly, children with ADHD thrive on adrenaline and Nick used the people in his house to generate excitement. Here is a sample of a typical conversation: Taylor: “Mom, do something! Nick, is_____ (fill in the blank: bothering me, hitting me, stealing my baseball cards, hiding the remote controllers, standing in front of the TV)…..” Mom to Nick: “Stop___(fill in the blank with list above)…” Mom to Taylor using one of the following: “Just walk away…Find something else to do…Ignore him.” Sometimes I would physically remove Nick from the situation or put him in time out. My intention was to minimize the chaos, not feed into Nick’s chaos, and keep the peace. What I was creating was an untenable situation for Taylor. What I saw clearly for the first time was not that I was teaching Taylor self-control or self-discipline, but I was

“Today in our country, hardworking taxpayers are being asked to comply with unreasonable, outrageous requests by government.” denying him the right to act on the basic human need to defend himself against attack. It could almost sound funny except it was killing him. When we got home I called a family meeting. I looked Taylor directly in the eye and asked him to forgive me for asking too much and being unaware of how much stress he was under. I looked at Nick and said: “Buddy, your life is going to change. From now on I am going to give Taylor permission to defend himself. If you grab a tiger by the tail you will get bit. You know Taylor is bigger than you. He is stronger than you. So if you choose to take him on, then you will live with the consequences. It is now up to you.” All parents of strong-willed children will appreciate what happened next. Nick went to Taylor’s bedroom and with one sweep of his arm knocked the model car and all the tiny, painted engine pieces onto the floor. In front of Nick, I looked at Taylor and said, “You have permission to defend your property that should have

Letters Continued from page 10 . . .

Dear Lauren,

Living Liberty

“You do no good by holding up a person who is capable of standing on their own.”

Your compassion is commendable. My guess would be that more of that compassion comes from your parents, family and community than you think. That is where it should come from. There are many examples of good intentions with bad results (see “War on Poverty” and “public housing”). There are many people who through no doings of their own are in need of help. They have played by the rules, done the right thing, worked hard, and still they find themselves between a rock and a hard place with

been safe in your room. Remember I love Nick and there are state laws.” I looked at Nick and said, “I’m sorry.” With that I left the bedroom. Today in our country, hardworking taxpayers are being asked to comply with unreasonable, outrageous requests by government. Human nature can submit to a point, but then comes the moment of choice. Either die and lose what is most precious, or fight to defend what is just. The growing number of tea parties and protest tax rallies say to me that more and more of us realize we won’t tolerate living with Taylor-level high blood pressure any longer—we’re mad, we’re not going to take it anymore, and we are going to fight back. Whether it’s mailing a tea bag to the White House or even joining the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s effort, it’s time to stand up against the fiscal equivalent of knocking our model-car parts on the floor. It’s time to fight back. And you have this mom’s permission to do it!

no place to turn but to outside help. They deserve your compassion and help. Helpfully you will continue your compassionate endeavors, but you need to make that decision, not the government. You do no good by holding up a person who is capable of standing on their own. Pat Priddy Valley, WA

readers are, of course, invited to comment at any time on articles or activities of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Please limit your letters to 250 words or less. All letters received become the property of EFF, and they are subject to editing for length, grammar, and content. Submission of a letter does not guarantee publication. Address all letters to: Editor: Living Liberty Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 Fax: 360-352-1874



Thomas Jefferson for today by Bob Williams


pril 13 is the 266th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson, our third President. Many Americans know him as the author of the Declaration of Independence. But he wrote many other important documents as well, including his own epitaph:

into our constitution: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights”. Article 1, Section 1.



Role of political parties.


He didn’t seek recognition for the political offices he held (Virginia Governor, Secretary of State, Vice President, and President). The Democratic Party traces its roots to Thomas Jefferson, and in many areas of the country they still conduct Jefferson Day events each year. It is interesting that at Lincoln Day events Republicans talk about Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln’s principles, while at Jefferson Day events Democrats don’t talk about Jeffersonian principles—probably because they don’t agree with those original principles on the role of limited government and the sovereignty of the individual. I have been an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for the past thirty-one years. ALEC is a group of state legislators and private sector members dedicated to Jeffersonian principles. In recent years when I talked to some of the newer legislative members I found that they had no idea what Jeffersonian principles are. So each year I teach a session on “First Principles” to ALEC members and I discuss the importance of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty. I also review several key principles that Jefferson held and urge the bipartisan group of ALEC legislators to adopt these principles. Hopefully the current Democrat leaders in Olympia and Washington, D.C. will also consider these principles:


What is the role of the people in government?

“I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.” What a great statement on the role of the people in our form of government. If only the Democrats who rule this state and nation understood this principle. Our state constitution essentially puts this statement


know of no safe

depository of the “Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties. 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests.” In Jefferson’s time, the Democrats were the group that identified with the people. Today they have become the authoritarian party who fear and distrust the people and want larger government.


What is good government?

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned -- that is the sum of good government.” And:

the society but the people themselves

. . .”

As we look at the political environment in America today and the spending of trillions of taxpayer dollars on “stimulus” and “bailouts” and expanding the role of government, I believe if the Democrat leadership recommitted itself to the principles upon which their political party was created, we would solve our economic and budgetary problems. In the meantime, these Jeffersonian principles are a good template for us to use in evaluating candidates for political office.

Meese headlines CLC launch by Scott St. Clair

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”


ultimate powers of

how to take back our government:

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” And: “Every generation degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.”

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Constitutional Law Center got off to a splendid official start at a March 26th luncheon that featured Edwin Meese, III, U.S. Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan, as the featured speaker. At a pre-luncheon reception, members and friends of EFF were treated to the private Ed Meese, a charming, affable gentleman. Patiently he stood as individuals and couples took advantage of the opportunity to have their photo snapped with one of the great conservatives in America today. 168 people were in attendance, overflowing the event venue. AG Meese spoke on the role of the courts in defending liberty. A complete report on the event will appear in the May issue of Living Liberty.

Living Liberty April 2009  
Living Liberty April 2009  

APRIL 2009 | WWW.EFFWA.ORG A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION when the legiSlature iS eyeing every poSSible new revenue SourC...