Despite urging by the Secretary of State for immediate action, a petition for a court order that would compel Colorado Springs resident Douglas Bruce to appear at a deposition in connection with three campaign finance complaints is languishing in a Denver district courtroom.
After District Judge Morris Hoffman recused himself, the request was subsequently assigned to Judge Brian Whitney, a court clerk said. A spokesman in Judge Whitney’s office said this morning that no action has yet been taken on the petition.
The petition was filed late Friday by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, which represents the Secretary of State Bernie Buescher. The AG said the matter required “immediate attention and disposition” by the court because of Bruce’s “repeated refusals” to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas.
The three finance complaints were filed against the proponents of three issues that will be on the November ballot. Known as Amendment 60, Amendment 61, and Proposition 101, the ballot issues would collectively reduce the income of state and local governments by $2 billion, critics allege.
Among other things, the measures would roll back the state income tax, cut the school mill levy rate, prohibit the state from borrowing, and eliminate taxes and fees related to motor vehicles and telecommunication accounts.
Professional petition circulators gathered thousands of signatures needed to get the measures on the ballot. Secretary of State records show that eight of those circulators lived in an apartment house owned by Colorado Springs resident Douglas Bruce.
Bruce is the author of the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which limits the taxing and spending ability of local and state governments. He also authored Issue 300, which effectively eliminated the city’s stormwater enterprise, and will cost the city millions of dollars in the coming years.
The circulators living in his house collected a total of roughly 75,000 signatures for the three statewide measures. Some of those same petition circulators also helped gather the signatures that put Issue 300 on the ballot, records show.
The circulators living in the Bruce-owned apartment have moved out. Two of them, contacted by cell phone, refused to discuss their work in Colorado.
The campaign finance complaints allege the proponents of the measures should have formed issues committees and reported the expenditures and contributions involved in the massive-signature gathering effort.