Bill Scheidler has not had many satisfying moments with lawyers, and if he gets his way, they’ll be paying through the nose because of it. Without getting into too many specifics and rehashing his past battles with Kitsap County to have his property taxes lowered because of reduced income due to an earlier than expected retirement, the 61-year-old Port Orchard man has been warring with the legal establishment for a dozen years.
Now, he’s stepping up the fight. Late last week, Scheidler, an unsuccessful candidate for the state legislature in 2014, filed a citizen initiative calling for the imposition of a “corruption tax” on all Washington State attorneys and judges.
“This act is necessary,” as Scheidler words Initiative 1381, “because public corruption threatens the peace and tranquility of all Washington state citizens. The cost is enormous: Life, liberty, and property are stripped from citizens under color of law; public resources are consumed when corrupt acts are litigated by courts over many years; and jury verdicts against government further penalize all citizens for the acts of a few.
“What we find when you peel back the layers of corrupt government is that lawyers are at the core of the rotten onion. These corrupt lawyers have managed to engineer their role in our society making it difficult to find them as they protect each other by their common association while they use citizens as their play toys for their own profit.”
These are the words of an disenchanted man. As he tells Seattle Weekly today, “When you encounter lie upon lie simply because members of the Bar Association are in the executive branch, the legislative branch, everywhere, you have to do something.”
What Scheidler — who has his own website, www.corruptwa.com — envisions is slapping a big fat tax on lawyers and judges who, he says, have earned the public wrath and have justifiably been stung with publicly filed grievances.
Here’s how it would work: There are about 30,000 attorneys in Washington state. Each year, nearly 3,000 grievances are filed. “So that’s 10 percent, and so what I want to do is place a 10 percent tax on the gross annual income of all the attorneys in Washington.”
Asked how much revenue that would bring to state coffers, “I’d say a ton,” replies Scheidler, a one-time analytical chemist whose retirement stemmed from anxiety issues, “As far as judges, they would pay an even bigger tax, may be 15 or 20 percent.”
Adds the judicial activist, “What this initiative will do is force them to regulate themselves. So finally, when there are no grievances, everyone wins.”
To qualify for the ballot, Scheidler, as sponsor of Initiative 1381, one of 37 initiatives that have so far been been filed, must gather at least 246,372 registered voters. Signature petition sheets are due at the state Elections Division by July 2. If the initiative is approved by a simple majority of voters, it becomes state law.
Scheidler, a Republican, finished a district third in his race for a seat representing the 26th Legislative District in last year’s primary election.
“I’m getting a lot of calls about this corruption tax,” he says. “There’s a lot of excitement about it. We’ll see what happens. All I am trying to do is create a disincentive for the legal establishment.”