June 28, 2006

The Sizemore Connection

Oregonians remember Bill Sizemore as the guy who ran for governor in 1988 1998, lost in a landslide, and then used the initiative process to try to destroy the the unions while striving to make the state a conservative bastion. But in a case where the good guys win one, he was tripped up by corruption charges and lost his tax exempt status for his political action organizations when it turned out that he was using fraud, racketeering and money laundering to promote his crusade against liberals.

These days, one of the people who is having all kinds of bad days is Grover Norquist for his willingness to use his Americans for Tax Reform organization to launder money for Jack Abramoff -- for a nice little fee. Well, TPMMuckracker reminds us that Sizemore's backers were also using the Grover Norquist money laundering machine for other anti-progressive causes.

Norquist's group Americans for Tax Reform almost got in some serious trouble in 2002 for helping his Oregonian mini-me, Bill Sizemore of Oregon Taxpayers United.

Here's what convicted Sizemore:

Money Laundering. To evade disclosure of other supporters' names, Sizemore arranged to have them write their checks to Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a Washington, D.C.,-based group headed by right-wing power-broker Grover Norquist. Sizemore would bundle these checks, then have ATR write a check back to his groups, or directly to petitioners for the total amount. [ATR also presumably broke the law in this scheme, but Hartman said he's not aware of anyone going after the group legally.]

At that time, conservatives were in ascendance, and Norquist didn't even get singed for his part. But one thing that is clear when you play hardball, you can make some very nasty enemies and those enemies can out last you. Now it seems that Grover made a very nasty one in John McCain who then used his position in the Senate to launch an investigation into an old enemy: the man who helped scuttle his run for Presidency in 2000.

Well, if Norquist's star has started to wane, there won't be too many patriotic Americans who will be sorry to see him get his comeuppance.

Here's one other thing the honorable Bill Sizemore was convicted of when first pursuing his nefarious ends:

Forgery. Sizemore hired a convicted forger, who then forged signatures on the petitions that were submitted to qualify Sizemore's measures for circulation. Next Sizemore had his political action committee hire his own company, I&R Petition Services, to oversee signature collection. His signature gatherers forged signatures, signed the names of fictitious people, and illegally copied legitimate signatures from one petition sheet to another. Even the signatures of the petition circulators themselves were sometimes forged.

Too bad it seems that Sizemore hasn't been put totally out of business. Perhaps we can do better with his big bud, Grover.

Posted by Mary at June 28, 2006 12:58 AM | Corruption & Graft | Technorati links |

Sizemore ran in 1998
Great Post!

Posted by: phastphil at June 28, 2006 06:41 AM

Thanks for the correction, phastphil. I like the way TPMMuckracker referred to Sizemore: "mini-me". He definitely wanted to play with the big guys.

Posted by: Mary at June 28, 2006 07:49 AM

Officials From Flooded Northeast: 'The Worst' is Yet to Come

this is quite ...

Posted by: nomar at June 28, 2006 02:25 PM