Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Anti-tax zealot sentenced to 13 years in prison

No, it's not Eyman, but Tim had better watch out...he seems to have a bad habit of attempting to explore the gray areas of the law with his multimillionaire-funded initiative factory. But it's good to see this guy's been hit with a sentence:
Irwin Schiff was sentenced Friday to more than 13 years in federal prison for advising people that no U.S. law requires them to pay income tax.

Schiff, 78, accused the government of trying to suppress the truth, while his lawyer argued he was mentally ill.

Schiff's earlier boast from the witness stand that he had helped thousands of followers avoid paying $2 billion in taxes was used against him at sentencing.

"Thousands of tax returns, millions and maybe billions of dollars lost," U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson said as he branded Schiff and his Las Vegas company, Freedom Books, "a flimflam operation" that encouraged others to evade taxes.

"He took their money and left them holding the bag," the judge said.

The judge also ordered Schiff to pay more than $4.2 million in restitution.

Schiff was convicted Oct. 24 of conspiracy, tax evasion and tax fraud. His defiance and ramblings while serving as his own lawyer at trial got him an extra year in prison for contempt of court.
Taxes are investments in the future of our communities and our nation. There is no free lunch. If we want police and fire protection, schools, libraries, parks, pools, safe transportation infrastructure - and countless other public serivces - then we must pay for them.

Of course, it's true that the federal government (under Bush) has wasted billions of dollars in taxpayer money with tax cuts for the rich, an unnecessary war in Iraq, and giveaways to corporate friends.

However, our tax dollars continue to fund some of the federal government's most important programs (like Social Security, or food stamps, for example). And we have a big chance to get back on the road to fiscal responsibility if we can retake Congress later this year. The GOP has made a terrible mess in Washington D.C. The sooner we can start cleaning it up, the better.

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