Colorado’s best-known tax-basher has the government in fits again.
Douglas Bruce, the father of Colorado’s tax-limiting Taxpayer Bill of Rights, was awarded a second delay Wednesday in contempt-of-court charges against him.
The postponement left government lawyers and Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney exasperated because they’ve been trying unsuccessfully for months to get Bruce to answer questions about his role in three more tax-cutting proposals on Colorado ballots this fall.
On Wednesday, Bruce was in court to answer accusations that he illegally avoided subpoenas in a lawsuit over this year’s tax questions to limit government spending. Bruce, a former Republican state lawmaker, was granted the delay after showing up without his lawyer, David Lane, who was away representing another client.
Bruce didn’t escape without a tongue-lashing from the judge, though.
“I think it’s time we brought this back to a court proceeding, not a tennis match,” Whitney said.
Later, he added, “I’m not being bullied.”
The government wants to know what role Bruce may have played in campaigns to petition onto ballots this fall three measures to limit the government’s ability to spend. Opponents of the measures want to have them thrown out, saying Bruce helped the campaigns but wasn’t properly listed as a backer.
Bruce, who led the campaign for the 1992 amendment to limit government spending, has repeatedly said he had nothing to do with this year’s measures.
Bruce argues that he’s being dragged into the current ballot-measure lawsuit only for political reasons. He says he was out of town visiting presidential birth sites earlier this year and missed more than 30 attempts to serve him with a subpoena.
“They want to say, ‘Oh, here’s an unpopular guy, we want to show that he’s involved.’ … This is just a witch hunt,” Bruce said.
No date was set for the third crack at trying Bruce on contempt charges. The government planned to reschedule a time with Lane, who has represented high-profile clients such as “Balloon Boy” dad Richard Heene.
The lawsuit over the ballot measures is pending on appeal.
- Associated Press