In a surprise announcement this afternoon, Attorney General John Kroger announced that initiative racketeer Bill Sizemore pleaded guilty to three counts of felony tax evasion for failure to file state income-tax returns. The guilty plea means that he’ll be sentenced to three years of probation, starting immediately with 30 days in Marion County Jail.
The sentencing was a long time coming for Sizemore, who has spent the last 15 years corrupting Oregon’s election, nonprofit, and tax laws. In order to avoid revealing how much personal and political money was flowing into his pockets, Sizemore set up a web of fake charities and for-profit businesses to hide the cash.
“Bill Sizemore refused to file his taxes to hide the fact that he was moving hundreds of thousands of dollars into his own pockets and into his corrupt initiative campaigns,” said Patrick Green, executive director of initiative watchdog group Our Oregon. “It was a cynical shell game in order to fund initiatives that should never have made the ballot.”
“It’s great to see that the law has finally caught up with him,” Green added. “The question now is whether Sizemore will follow the law going forward. Given his track record of corrupting the law for his own benefit, we’re extremely doubtful.”
In 2008, Sizemore spent a night in Multnomah County Jail after refusing a judge’s repeated orders to file tax forms for his sham charity. His organizations have been found to have engaged in racketeering, fraud and forgery in order to get initiatives on the ballot.
Sizemore is still trying to put measures on the ballot for November 2012. He’s already circulating one initiative (IP3) that is another attack on Oregon charities and workers. The initiative was filed under the names of two Sizemore associates, rather than his own, in an attempt to hide his involvement.