Oregon's most famous anti-tax crusader/racketeer Bill Sizemore has officially been nominated for one of this year's not-particularly-coveted Golden Duke Awards.
The Golden Dukes are given out annually by the Talking Points Memo blog to honor - well, that's not exactly the right word; make it "recognize" - "excellence in corrupt acts, betrayals of the public trust and generalized shameful behavior." The award is named for Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a former Republican congressman from California who's now doing eight years in the pen for taking over $2.4 million in bribes and evading income taxes.
Talking Points will award Golden Dukes in six categories: Sleaziest Campaign Ad, Best Election Season Fib, Outstanding Achievement in Corruption-based Chutzpah, Best Scandal - Sex and Generalized Carnality, Best Scandal - Local Venue and Best Scandal - General Interest. Jeff Alworth of the BlueOregon blog is nominating Sizemore for the "Best Scandal - Local Venue" prize.
Explaining why he thinks Sizemore deserves a Duke, Alworth writes: "Since all politics are local, you could say all scandals qualify, but this award is devoted to the city or state scandal that didn't get the national attention it deserved. I think we need to put a spotlight on Bill's outstanding, overlooked achievements."
Alworth then goes on to enumerate some of those achievements, which include:
- Being ordered to pay $2.5 million after a jury determined in 2000 that he had forged signatures on ballot initiative petitions;
- Taking more than $800,000 out of a phony non-profit organization and putting it in his own pocket; and
- Being found in contempt of court and going to the pokey for a couple of days last month for refusing to submit the proper tax records.
"We're sort of used to Sizemore's two-bit graft, but we sell him short," Alworth concludes. "This is really big-league stuff. He deserves a little national credit, so here's one vote for a Golden Duke."
The deadline for Golden Duke nominations is Dec. 17, after which a panel of judges will determine the finalists. Finalists will be announced Dec. 19, and the winners will be announced on Dec. 31. The Eye is rooting for Sizemore to bring home the gold, and all loyal Oregonians should be too.