Tax activist and conservative initiative sponsor Bill Sizemore swore all along he would never, ever admit to the criminal tax evasion that he was charged with by the state of Oregon back in 2009. He'd paid his taxes, Sizemore said. He'd just never filed his returns. And just last week, Sizemore told WW he was going to fight the charges to the end.
Well, this was Sizemore after all, who is nothing if not unreliable and pragmatic.
Sizemore, 60, pleaded guilty Thursday to three felony counts of personal tax evasion only few days before he was scheduled to stand trial in Marion County Circuit Court. His wife, Cindy, had also been charged, but she had already pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts in October 2010 and was given 18 months' probation.
Sizemore was sentenced to 30 days in jail and has to abide by a series of conditions (see below). He had faced up to five years in prison for each count.
Sizemore, who once commanded meaningful power in Oregon politics, was the bane of public employee unions. And the unions in the end brought him down. Their civil suits against Sizemore for his tactics in running initiative campaigns forced him to admit under oath in 2008 that he had not filed his personal income tax returns.
"Everybody has to pay their taxes," said a written statement from Attorney General Kroger, whose office won the conviction against Sizemore. "There are no exceptions."
Sizemore argued he was targeted for political reasons by Kroger, whose 2008 campaign for AG was largely bankrolled by the very public employee unions who had gone after him in court. That argument didn't fly with a judge.
Here's the Oregon Department of Justice press release announcing the plea deal.