We’re not going to sugarcoat this: We are very disappointed in Douglas Bruce.
Mr. Bruce, Gazette reporters and others have repeatedly asked you what your level of involvement has been in the proposed Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101. You have consistently denied any significant role, and have made mockery of legal proceedings intended to reveal the real backers and proponents of the measures.
Now we find out in your own e-mail to your supporters:
• That you have been involved from the very start.
• That you’ve spent many hours on these ballot measures.
• You have knowledge of money being spent on these campaigns, perhaps even your own money.
It has been the worst-kept secret in Colorado: Bruce is and has been the driving force behind these initiatives. Bruce has tried to keep his fingerprints off of them, probably knowing that his brand has been tarnished.
Not long after the measures were approved for the ballot, the public became aware that professional petition circulators had stayed in a house Bruce owned. A campaign finance complaint, filed to determine the organizers and benefactors of the measures, resulted in a witness testifying that Bruce had coached her by e-mail to avoid testifying. The witness said Bruce, a former prosecutor, advised her to destroy the e-mails.
Dozens of efforts to subpoena Bruce for hearings about the ballot measures failed. An administrative law judge ruled in June that sufficient evidence revealed Bruce as one of the main organizers of the ballot measures, even though he is not one of the six proponents listed on the initiatives.
In every way possible, Bruce has deceived the public about his involvement in the campaigns. If the deception wasn’t already abundantly clear, it became indisputable Thursday when a story in the Denver Post and The Gazette quoted an e-mail Bruce sent in September to supporters of the initiatives. The e-mail criticizes supporters for failing to work hard enough at getting the measures passed.
(Vote in poll to the right in red type. Must vote to see results. Thanks!)
“I’m asking so little — eight hours of your time in the next week, and they need not be consecutive,” Bruce wrote. “Choose a busy store exit door. Follow exactly the simple attached instructions. Say only two words, ‘Please vote.’ If you’re shy, bring a friend and do this at a TWO-exit Wal-Mart.
“Personally, I hope you will see it’s not hard, and then do it next week as well. I have spent over 1,600 hours on this effort; can’t you spare eight?” Bruce later told the Post his 1,600 hours statement was a typo; he intended to type 160. Really? A typo involving an extra “0” and a perfectly placed comma?
Another passage says: “You have no idea how much time and money has been spent to get in sight of the finish line. I counted on you to help. Will you disappoint me?”
So lets’ recap, Mr. Bruce:
• You don’t want the public to know you are deeply involved with these measures.
• You don’t want the public to know where the campaign money is coming from, or how it’s being spent.
How good can these measures really be if you don’t want your name associated with them?
Aren’t the best ideas those which can be argued with facts, in the unflinching light of day?
Why should people vote for them if you are going to behave this way?
Bruce claims he is merely a supporter of the measures, no different than those who will vote for them, those who campaigned for them and those who signed the petitions. But the e-mail tells us he has knowledge of money spent that other supporters have “no idea” about. We’ll report you decide, but it seems rather obvious Bruce is in charge. Evidence tells the public he is most likely the mastermind and author of the measures.
And now we have one more reason to oppose 60, 61 and 101: Bruce and his deception has cost us all money and has cost him any last vestige of credibility he might have had with us.
He has played games with state campaign laws and with our taxpayer-funded court system. How does this behavior serve the citizens of Colorado or the Constitution he has twice sworn an oath to uphold?
Right or wrong, state law assures the public the right to know about the organizers, major contributors and expenses of ballot initiatives. Bruce has boldly deceived the public in order to skirt the law, in an effort to amend the Constitution in a manner that would harm Colorado and Colorado Springs. Lies and deception are wrong, just like these hideous initiatives.
Mr. Bruce, we are very disappointed.
— Steven Pope, President & Publisher, with Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor, for the editorial board