NOREEN: That silence is the sound of Doug Bruce in jail

April 3, 2012
photo - Here is the booking photo of convicted tax cheat Doug Bruce, taken at the Denver County Jail. Photo by
Here is the booking photo of convicted tax cheat Doug Bruce, taken at the Denver County Jail. Photo by  

Ah, spring!

The Peyton Manning thing and March Madness are behind us and the economy is slowly coming back. Notice how quiet it is?

That’s the sound of convicted tax cheat Doug Bruce in jail. He’s not circulating petitions and gathering signatures for destructive ballot measures, as he did in 2010.

He’s just burning daylight.

About a year ago, The Dougster was making a lot of noise, leading a fruit-and-nut assortment of five City Council candidates, a slate he called “The Reform Team.” Their collective fantasy was to hijack the council with a voting majority so they could destroy local government.

The Reform Team got its doors blown off at the polls. Its primary impact was to dilute the city’s conservative vote, thus undermining the election hopes of former Councilman Sean Paige, who really is just Doug Bruce with better hair, somewhat better manners and without a criminal record.

The council now could not be described as liberal, but it is more moderate than it would have been without the Reform Team. So thanks for that, Doug.

Paige has since become the well-manicured mouthpiece for the Americans for Prosperity. Bruce is cooling his heels in the Denver County Jail, having been convicted of three felonies. A jury found him guilty of using his nonprofit political organization to dodge paying income taxes, filing a false return and trying to influence a public official. He was ordered to pay restitution and sentenced to 180 days in jail — making him ineligible for an absentee ballot.

Alissa Vander Veen, chief deputy for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office, said Bruce won’t be eligible to vote until he completes his six-year probation. A handful of nutty states bend over backwards to get ballots to convicted felons but in Colorado, as long as you are behind bars or completing a parole or probation on a felony, you don’t get to vote.

That’s OK. Our constitutional rights are not absolute; we limit gun rights for convicted felons, too. Bruce will be able to vote again when he is 68 or so, as long as he keeps his nose clean, and assuming the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t come after him as well.

In El Paso County so far this year, Vander Veen said, the names of 83 people have been erased from the voters’ rolls “and 18 of those people had a mail-in ballot request.”

So, in case you needed it, there’s proof that some felons vote.

But Bruce won’t be voting. He wasn’t at the El Paso County Republican Assembly. He’s not holding news conferences. He won’t placing garbage on the ballot this year.

Don’t worry about blustery weather. This is one heck of a beautiful spring day.

Listen to Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


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