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December 03, 2012

Disbarred Washington attorney loses another one

A once prominent #lawyer disbarred in Washington state has now taken another hit, with a U.S. Tax Court loss.

W. Russell Van Camp, who at one time represented anti-abortion activists and described himself as a "very expensive attorney" who "makes a lot of money," was challenging the Internal Revenue Service's imposition of tax liens. In negotiations with the IRS, Van Camp's attorney had come close to an agreement for a series of installment payments that would cover the taxes due for the 2001, 2007 and 2008 tax years.

Then, a turn for the worse. As U.S. Tax Court Judge Stephen J. Swift described it Monday:

"On April 2, 2010, before final approval and implementation of the installment agreement, petitioners’ attorney informed the settlement officer that petitioners’ financial affairs were 'going from bad to worse...'

Come to find out, the reason was Van Camp's imminent disbarment for his actions in a messy little case where he charged $25,000 for a routine matter. An attorney whose work once landed him on the front page of the New York Times, Van Camp called that disbarment a change in circumstance that merited reconsideration of the installment paymment plan; the judge Monday said otherwise and let the IRS proceed with the liens and levies.


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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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