In classic Bill Sizemore fashion, the infamous initiative profiteer (and racketeer) was in court yesterday, using every argument under the sun to beat his tax evasion rap. The judge saw through his antics and denied his motions to have the case dismissed.
Yesterday’s court appearance was a pretrial motion hearing—basically, a preview of Sizemore’s criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin on August 9. He’s under indictment for failing to file taxes for multiple years while he was raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars and hiding it in a series of sham charities.
At the hearing, Sizemore tried a number of tactics. Despite having already admitted that he didn’t file the tax returns, Sizemore claimed that the case was part of a vast conspiracy against him, using the court’s time to rant about 15 years of self-perceived martyrdom. The judge’s response: “The evidence is not there.”
From the Salem Statesman Journal:
Sizemore also argued that his failure to file returns was a “choice of evils,” preferable to possible indictment for filing false information about his income that could be seized on by two teacher unions, which prevailed in a 2002 racketeering judgment against Sizemore-led groups in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Burton ruled there was no evidence Sizemore attempted to seek help on his returns from the Oregon Department of Revenue or file for an available tax amnesty, which expired about 10 days before his 2009 indictments. She also declined to suppress statements arising from later proceedings on the 2002 judgment, including his comment that he failed to file tax returns.
Finally, he claimed that his income was just too complicated to be able to file an accurate tax return. The judge still has to rule on this motion, but the facts seem clear: Sizemore’s income is only complicated because Sizemore himself set up such an elaborate shell game of sham charities and for-profit corporations as a way of hiding his political and personal funds. The Oregonian has a good rundown of this scam here: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/10/oregon_tax_activists_spending.html
The bottom line: Sizemore’s unwillingness to follow the law—whether election law or tax law—is the fault of Bill Sizemore and Bill Sizemore alone.
The criminal trial begins August 9. Sizemore faces five years in prison and a fine of $125,000 for each year that he failed to file a tax return. He could also owe as much as 100% of the taxes he was originally supposed to pay, plus interest.