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Bill Sizemore is not a felon and legally never was.
In 2009, the State of Oregon tried to make Bill Sizemore a convicted felon. Several public employee unions had published ads the year before calling Sizemore a “convicted felon,” even though he had never even be charged with a crime in his entire life. Sizemore’s organization brought a lawsuit under Oregon’s Corrupt Practices Act. A newly elected attorney general, who had received the bulk of his campaign funds from the same public employee unions Sizemore had been fighting for the previous decade, singled out Sizemore for prosecution for not filing his state tax returns in a timely manner. No one in Oregon had ever been charged solely for late filing of state tax returns, but Sizemore was. According to the Oregon Revised Statutes the charges could be brought as felonies or misdemeanors at the A.G.’s discretion. Attorney General John Kroger, who later left office in disgrace, chose to bring the charges as felonies, even though Sizemore had paid more than $50,000 in estimated taxes and without malice had not filed the actual returns based solely on advice of his legal counsel. Shortly after Bill Sizemore was indicted, the Albany Democrat Herald newspaper opined, “The persecution of Bill Sizemore has reached a new and odious stage with the indictment of him and his wife for tax evasion.” The Democrat Herald recognized that the state’s prosecution of Bill Sizemore was a form of political persecution, thus making it “odious.”
The charges against Bill Sizemore were not tax evasion.
Tax evasion was just the title contained in the original charges. However, at the request of the State, the court changed the charges to late filing of state income tax returns, rather than tax evasion. This made it easier for the state to prove its case. According to the Oregon Department of Justice, one day after the date tax returns are due, if a person has not filed their return they are guilty of a felony or misdemeanor and there is no defense. If the attorney general chooses to prosecute, the late filer is automatically guilty unless they were in the hospital in a coma and thus couldn’t file. Under this theory, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians could be turned into felons overnight if the attorney general chose to prosecute them. There is little chance of that happening to you, however. Bill Sizemore is the only one charged.
Bill Sizemore was literally forced to plead guilty to the charges.
A Marion County court ruled that Mr. Sizemore would not be allowed to put on a defense of any kind. The court ruled that Bill Sizemore could not tell the jury that the State forced him to delay filing his returns by falsely claiming in another case that Mr. Sizemore had personally taken more than $850,000 from a nonprofit he was running. The court further ruled that neither Mr. Sizemore’s attorney nor his accountant could testify as to what they advised him to do regarding filing his returns and why they gave the advice they did. Even though the question went to the issue of intent, the court also ruled that Mr. Sizemore could not inform the jury that he had paid more than $50,000 in estimated taxes while he was waiting to file his actual returns. The court further ruled that Sizemore could not inform the jury that no other person in Oregon history had been prosecuted solely for filing state income tax returns late. To ensure that no jury heard any of the facts regarding the case, the court threatened to hold Mr. Sizemore in contempt of court if he attempted to put on a defense.
It may be difficult to accept that such a thing could happen in the United States, which has a Bill of Rights guaranteeing every citizen the right to a trial by jury and to answer any charges levied against them, but that is exactly what happened to Bill Sizemore. It’s all right there in the Marion County Court records. No defense whatsoever allowed. Just plead guilty and go to jail.
Why you can't believe everything you read on Wikipedia
The judge later changed her previous ruling retroactively.
Four years after her initial ruling, Marion County Judge Claudia Burton amended her earlier judgment and retroactively changed the felony judgments against Mr. Sizemore to misdemeanors. As a consequence and as a matter of law, Bill Sizemore was never a felon. Also, all of his legal and political rights were restored. As things stand as of this writing, Bill Sizemore pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of filing his state income tax returns late. It is at least worth noting that Sizemore remained in communication with the IRS regarding his federal returns while the state was prosecuting him for not yet filing his state returns. According to Sizemore, the IRS simply assured him that his returns were not yet late enough to be an issue with them. They told him that he just needed to get the returns in as soon as he was able but because he had paid estimated taxes they weren’t concerned.
Bill Sizemore Facts
| Bill Sizemore’s ballot measures have reduced property taxes on Oregonians by more than $12 billion and income taxes by more than $3 billion. Average property owners could buy a new car with the money Bill Sizemore’s tax cutting measures have saved them over the years. Many elderly Oregonians have stated that they would have lost their homes had Sizemore’s measure not passed. |
| Bill Sizemore’s approach to preventing government from using the power of eminent domain to forcibly take property from one private property owner to sell it to another private entity passed with more than 80 percent of the vote. Most Oregonians were never told that they were voting on a Bill Sizemore measure. |
| Contrary to claims many union leaders have publicly made, Bill Sizemore does not owe any money to the public employee unions. None whatsoever. At one time he owed them more than $4 million, but that judgment was overturned on appeal. Claims that he owes the unions money are totally false. |
| Contrary to statements made in the newspapers and on television, Bill Sizemore has never been convicted of fraud, forgery, and racketeering. In fact, he has never been so much as accused of or charged with any of those crimes. Union spokespersons have repeatedly made those claims and led many to believe them, including some reporters, but there is not a shred of truth to them. |
| Bill Sizemore was not pursued in court because of things he did wrong; in fact the opposite is true. The teachers unions chief attorney confessed to Bill Sizemore in a mediation session in the Multnomah County Courthouse that the unions were not really suing him for money; they just wanted him out of politics. The public employee unions were spending tens of millions of dollars fighting Sizemore’s conservative measures and wanted to put an end to his efforts to put measure on the ballot. The unions literally tried to bribe Sizemore out of politics. They offered not to collect on the multi-million judgment Sizemore owed them (at the time), if he would just sign an agreement to stay out of politics for 16 years and drop his appeal. Sizemore rejected that offer and eventually won the appeal. |
| Teachers unions sued Bill Sizemore and his organizations for more than a decade with proceeding after proceeding, and yet not once was he ever actually a defendant before a jury of his peers. Anytime Bill Sizemore was a defendant in a proceeding, the State and the teachers unions used legal maneuvers to ensure that he could not make his case before a jury. Even when Attorney General John Kroger prosecuted Sizemore for filing his state tax returns late, the court ruled that Bill Sizemore would not be able to testify in his own defense or tell the jury why he could not yet file his state tax return or even tell the jury that he and his wife had paid more than $50,000 in estimated taxes while they waited to file their returns. The court left Sizemore with no choice to plead guilty. That same court later reduced the charges, retroactively, to mere misdemeanors. |
| For more than a decade, liberal Portland judges ordered Bill Sizemore not to raise and spend any money on politics. Their injunctions were blatantly unconstitutional and yet three times Sizemore was held in contempt of court for lawfully raising and spending money to place measures on the ballot. The liberal Oregon Supreme Court upheld the injunctions or simply refused to hear Sizemore’s appeal of the harsh restrictions he faced. However, when Sizemore filed a civil rights case in federal court and appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the Oregon Department of Justice and the teachers unions dropped their lawsuits and their injunction, and overnight more than a decade of legal harassment simply disappeared. |
| The judge who presided for three years over the teachers union lawsuits against Bill Sizemore’s organization concealed for that entire time that his own son was a high level activist in the same union that was suing in his dad’s court. Only when it was going to become public knowledge that his son had been elected to the position of union president did the judge withdraw from the case. Notwithstanding the judge’s blatant conflict of interest, other Oregon courts allowed all of the judge’s biased decisions and personal attacks on Bill Sizemore to stand. |
| Contrary to a long held Oregon legend, the Oregon State Legislature did not have to rewrite Bill Sizemore’s property tax measure because it was poorly written. The rewrite was actually Sizemore’s idea, one he put forth to place Measure 47 beyond the reach of the courts and lock in nearly 90 percent of the savings the measure had enacted. The story that Sizemore’s measure was poorly written has been perpetuated by the media, but it is, like so many things commonly said about Bill Sizemore, simply not true. |
| Bill Sizemore has been busy writing books while taking a break from Oregon politics. As of February 2016, two of his books have been published and two more are expected to be completed by the end of the year. One of the books to be completed this year is an autobiography. |