Former state Rep. Douglas Bruce, a controversial figure in Colorado politics who was linked to three statewide ballot issues that went down in flames Tuesday, predicts similar citizen-driven initiatives will not resurface anytime soon.
“If the establishment, if the government can con people the way they did in this case, they can do it on anything,” Bruce said Friday in his first interview since the election.
“Somebody could have a measure to promote clean water, and they can say that would cost 73,000 jobs,” he said, referring to opponents’ claims that Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 would have put thousands of Colorado residents out of work.
“When people lie, the voters are rewarding the liars, so I don’t know why somebody would go to that trouble of having the entire wrath of our corrupt system,” he said.
A spokesman for Coloradans for Responsible Reform, which mounted an expensive campaign to defeat the three ballot initiatives, did not return a call for comment.
Last month, the group filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s Office against a tax-exempt nonprofit run by Bruce. The complaint alleges the nonprofit acted an issue committee that funded the petition drive that got Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 on the ballot and that it failed to disclose contributions and expenditures.
Bruce, who has tried to distance himself from the so-called “Ugly 3,” grew angry Friday when asked about his ties to the ballot measures.
“The fact that you’re even asking it shows that you’re being ensnared in this stupid, personal witch hunt. You should be ashamed of yourself for doing that,” he said.
Bruce said a ballot issue should be judged on the merits, not on who wrote it.
“I tried to tell people that it’s irrelevant and that the proponents were people in Denver,” he said. “It’s a matter of public record. All they’re trying to do is practice guilt by association, and they did it anyway.
“Let it go.”
Bruce described the overwhelming defeat of the three ballot measures and other citizen-driven initiatives as a larger assault on the right to petition the government.
“People voted for anything the government asked for and they voted down anything that the citizens asked for. They’re demonstrating hostility to petitions,” he said.
“The voters signaled that they don’t care if the government pulls out an Uzi and mows down people collecting signatures,” Bruce added. “They’re going to shrug and step over the bleeding bodies and go get their groceries.”
Bruce also said the voters of Colorado were fooled into believing that the three ballot measures would have closed down schools and libraries, put teachers out of work and “hurt little children,” among other claims that were part of a “campaign of lies.”
“The people just got bamboozled,” he said.
(Is Douglas Bruce right? Were voters tricked into voting against 60, 61 and 101? Vote in poll.)
“People were just basically hypnotized and brainwashed,” he said. “There has been no instance in human history where lower taxes and putting more money into the economy causes a recession. It’s impossible.”