Attorney general wants Bruce found in contempt

June 11, 2010

The state Attorney General’s Office on Friday warned in court papers it will seek contempt sanctions next week against Colorado Springs tax activist Douglas Bruce.

Bruce has eluded efforts to serve him with a court order that would have compelled his testimony in a campaign finance case, the AG alleges. The Attorney General is working to prove that Bruce was legally served with the order.

In the motion filed in Denver district court, the AG alleges Bruce’s efforts to avoid being served were a deliberate “affront” to the court system. The sanctions for contempt could range from ordering Bruce to appear for a deposition to fines and jail time.

From May 4 to May 18, the AG’s Office said it made 30 attempts to serve Bruce with a court order stemming from a trio of campaign finance complaints.

“By all appearances, Mr. Bruce has been eluding personal service by ignoring emails, phone calls, mailings, and documents posted on his door,” the AG stated in court papers.

Bruce is the author of the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The motion notes Bruce is a former prosecutor and state legislator who is “presumably familiar” with court rules.

“Mr. Bruce should not be allowed to ignore his obligations as a citizen of Colorado to appear, give testimony, and produce documents in a legal proceeding,” the AG stated.

“His actions are an affront to the (administrative law judge) and to this court, and his apparent efforts to avoid service of this court’s May 10 order should not be allowed to continue,” the motion said.

In an interview with the Gazette earlier this week, Bruce said he was on vacation in Pennsylvania. He refused to say whether he left town to avoid being served. “I don’t have to clear with anybody in the government whether I want to go on vacation,” he said in that interview.

The AG asserted in its motion that Bruce was “apparently not out of town during the entire period of May 4-18, 2010, when Petitioners were making their 30 attempts to personally serve him.”

As proof, the AG attached a pleading that Bruce filed in another case on May 17. “Notably, the envelope containing these documents contains a postmark dated May 17, 2010, originating from Colorado Springs.”

The AG got involved in the case after Bruce failed to appear for a deposition in connection with the three campaign finance complaints.

Those complaints deal with three issues that will be on the November ballot -- Amendment 60, Amendment 61, and Proposition 101 -- that opponents say would greatly affect the ability of local and state government to borrow money and raise taxes.

The administrative law judge ruled this week that  Bruce helped craft those measures.

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