Bill Sizemore at Preemptive Karma

Over at Preemptive Karma, there’s an interesting exchange going on between Bill Sizemore and Sizemore whistle-blower and frequent Blue Oregon commenter Becky Miller.

As readers know, Sizemore's OTU was convicted found guilty of racketeering a few years back and forced to close his illegal initiative operation. He was later held in contempt of court -- and forced to repay millions of dollars to Oregon Education Association and others.

Most recently, Bill's troubles have made him acutely aware of the use of poor credit ratings in determining one's insurance rates. But now, according to Becky, Sizemore is going on the offense and using “smoke and mirrors.... to worm his way back into the core of the Republican apple.”

Read more over at Preemptive Karma.

  • Jesse O (unverified)

    Sorry to incorrectly post here -- but Preemptive Karma denies my comments as "questionable content." If someone who runs that website can tell me what's questionable, great.

    People should know that chief petitioners are legally responsible for what happens during initiative collection. So saying Becky was just signing a form is simply incorrect. Of course, Bill doesn't understand initiative law, so no surprise there.

    The facts are against you, Bill. Like it or not, we live in a land of laws, and you were found to break those laws by a jury of your peers. You can't be Mr. Populist and Mr. Anti-jury at the same time.

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    Sorry about the comments issue at PK. We've had a huge problem with comment spam--and we keep having to monkey with the spam filters to combat it. Unfortunately it sometimes messes with the ability of folks to comment.

    If you sign into TypeKey (a free account is available at then you should be able to comment over at PK with no trouble.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

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    Typically with legit commenters the spam filter problem is virtually always a matter of either one's URL domain name or one's email domain name. If you can email me whatever you put in the PK comment form for both of those then I can track it down and delete it from our spam filter so that it doesn't happen again.

    Or... alternately, if you know within a very few minutes the exact time you had the comment rejected I can look thru our log and find out precisely what caused the rejection. But, it'd have to be pretty concise timewise, what with all of the search engine bots, spammers and legit commenters... it's amazing how much gets recorded in the log every minute of the day.

  • Kiss (unverified)

    I don't like Bill Sizemore period. With that said, how many of you pay property taxes with out the discount McIntyre and Sizemore got for us? How many of you want Insurance Co.s to base rates on your credit rating? Yup, I thank Bill every November. Does this mean I think he is a good hearted, kind, honest individual?..hell no! Sometimes you shake hands with the devil for a greater good.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)

    I'm hardly an apologist for Sizemore, but (not surprisingly) Kari got it wrong.

    Sizemore was never "convicted" of racketeering (or any criminal activity). His political organization was found liable in a civil suit. Later the unions were able to pierce the corporate veil and attach the liability to Sizemore directly.

    Ironic that most profligate racketeers in the U.S. (organized labor has had over 550 criminal convictions in since 2001) are the ones who direct the spin on this story.

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    While your point about language is debatable, Pancho, Kari is in Italy and didn't post this piece.

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    Ironic that most profligate racketeers in the U.S. (organized labor has had over 550 criminal convictions in since 2001) are the ones who direct the spin on this story.

    Hmmm, that means we ignore the thousands of corporate criminals? And what of the many others who hide behind the corporate veil and are stealing billions from us all?

    Methinks your union scapegoating is tiresome within the context of this story.

    Just because someone is a union or corporate leader doesn't then brand either unions or corporations as ALL bad.

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    Pancho --

    I posted the piece. If you don't want people to think you're a "Sizemore apologist," then don't apologize for Bill Sizemore. Sizemore's organization WAS found guilty of racketeering, with Sizemore himself personally liable. I didn't write that it was a criminal conviction -- but you seem to be trying to minimize his wrongdoing because he was found guilty in a jury trial. That's a big deal, and his convictions were extremely serious.

  • LT (unverified)

    "Organized Labor" --does that mean all employees of any union anywhere are tainted? Or does that mean everyone with a union membership is tainted?

    I worked in a retail store which was not unionized. Lots of dislike there for Sizemore---statements like "why doesn't he go out in the real world and get a real job like the rest of us".

    Many people work in jobs where they are required to pay attention to detail and be polite to customers, or management will come down on them like a ton of bricks. If the product model is not there, or the product is being returned as defective, it doesn't matter what the store employee thinks of unions--it is about getting a problem solved and a customer satisfied.

    Sizemore has always been lax about detail. He was ready to call any parent concerned about school funding a union dupe, and anyone who used the phrase "the common good" as socialist. He and Tiernan passed a measure (later overturned) where voters made decisions on public employee pay packages. But did the entire OTU membership vote on Sizemore's pay package? He admitted that they didn't--board decision or some such.

    If someone doesn't like unions, campaign for a candidate who wants them abolished. But quit painting Sizemore as a friend of the little guy. One reason he lost all his measures in 2000 was because people like one of my friends (owns his own practice, not a union person) who called me and said "I have come to the conclusion Sizemore is just out for himself. Help me identify which of the measures comes from Sizemore so I can vote against all of them".

    No matter how many folks try to spin this as unions vs. everyone else, the fact is that initiativemeisters (Mabon, McIntire, Sizemore, and many who oppose them on all issues but "initiative rights") anger people who work hard (try standing on a cement floor in a retail store dealing with customers who ask specific questions and can be less than polite) and then turning on the news that night and seeing someone like Sizemore mouthing off about their version of what we are all supposed to believe.

    Politics is like sales --- no matter who you think you are and how much you value your product, if a customer doesn't like the features of your product, or didn't get a question answered, or even doesn't like your attitude, they are free to shop elsewhere.

    The defeat of all of Sizemore's 2000 measures and the rise of voters registered outside of major parties should have been a clue of voters starting to say "whatever you're selling, we aren't buying".

    Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, once said "Be courteous to your customers and you'll get higher market share because common courtesy is really uncommon".

    Sizemore was often rude to people he didn't like, and there were times he was in public debates where he got his facts wrong or misspoke. And the old proverb "hubris is followed by nemesis" applied--he got too full of himself, and when a strong group pushed back he got in trouble. I am not a union member and unions are far from infallible, but some would be amazed at the people who disliked Sizemore and were thrilled an organized group finally pushed back at his bullying.

    Saying "Ironic that most profligate racketeers in the U.S. (organized labor has had over 550 criminal convictions in since 2001) are the ones who direct the spin on this story. " in the age of Enron is not going to convince Oregonians (how many of those 550 convictions were in Oregon--or are Oregon union members somehow responsible for the actions of union people in other states?) that there is no corruption in non-union sectors.

  • Coastdemo (unverified)

    Since Bill is seemingly attempting a political comeback, I think it would be a great idea for him to run for public office again. It worked so well for us the first time. ;)

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)

    There you go again Charlie.

    "his convictions were extremely serious"

    What "convictions"?

    A finding of civil liability isn't a "conviction".

    From Ballentine's Law dictionary:

    Convict - 2. Verb: To find a person guilty of a crime with which he is charged, upon either the verdict of a jury or a plea of guilty.

    Watch out Charlie, if you keep posting erroneous accusations someone may "convict" you of slander.

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    Bill Sizemore was found guilty of racketeering charges by a civil jury, as I wrote above. You're right about the terminology; the word "conviction" is inaccurate, as is your use of "slander" versus "libel," which is written defamation.

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    Well since some are, in a cavalier fashion, convicting people without any authority.

    "In the matter of enforcement action against: Washington Education Association.... Violation: Respondent and Staff agree that Respondent committed multiple violations of RCW 42.17.760"

    That would be case number 01-002.

    But I thought unions were clean as the wind driven snow?

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    I'm pretty sure the jury who heard the facts of the Sizemore case did in fact "have authority" to find him guilty of racketeering, as did the judge who found him in contempt.

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    Charlie, So you agree that throwing the term "convict" around is just a little over the top?

    Of course we are not arguing the jury outcome. So don't build that straw man.

    By the way. I don't think the Washington Association of Teachers has not payed their fine yet either.

  • Becky (unverified)

    It's only fair to correct the story here. It wasn't Sizemore who was found guilty of racketeering. Sizemore wasn't on trial. It was his network of groups that was found guilty. Of course all the court documents of the racketeering trial and subsequent court actions point to his own illegal acts and responsibility for the guilt of the organizations, but technically ...

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    Becky, I know that it was Sizemore's OTU on trial, not him personally, but my impression was that Judge LaBarre held him personally responsible for the wrongdoing.

    This is from one of the linked articles:

    In the 33-page legal decision (the injunction order and the legal findings that support them) LaBarre agreed with the jury's verdict ... and went further. While the jury found that there was a pattern of racketeering in the Oregon Taxpayers United political action committee and education foundation, the judge ruled that Sizemore himself was responsible for the violations.

    I don't want to misstate what happened; I think his wrongdoing was serious enough.....

  • Becky (unverified)

    Charlie, we're on the same page here, so please don't misunderstand my point! You're correct, of course; it's just a matter of technicalities and semantics.

    As for "Coyote," his hands are clasped tightly over his ears, his eyes are tightly shut, and he's shouting "blah, blah, blah! I can't hear you!" as loudly as he can. Plus, he has absolutely no sense of logic and doesn't even realize it.

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    Judge labarre is in the unions pocket. So what other outcome would you expect?


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