Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Blog: Is posing in a photo with Douglas Bruce "guilt by association?"

December 30, 2014 Updated: December 31, 2014 at 10:18 am
0
photo - From left, Colorado Springs City Council member Helen Collins with Douglas Bruce, author of the TABOR law. Photo was posted on the Colorado Springs Government Watch website. Unknown date or location.
From left, Colorado Springs City Council member Helen Collins with Douglas Bruce, author of the TABOR law. Photo was posted on the Colorado Springs Government Watch website. Unknown date or location. 

Colorado Springs Government Watch wants to know if the father of Colorado’s tax limitation movement Douglas Bruce is the man behind Colorado Springs City Councilwoman Helen Collins’ proposed policies.

Collins did pose recently with Bruce in a photo looking friendly. But, so did the executive director of the group investigating the connection between Collins and Bruce. (see photo)

The newly formed group, headed by Dede Laugesen (wife of The Gazette’s Opinion page editor Wayne Laugesen), filed two requests under the Colorado Open Records Act asking for all of the correspondence between Collins and Bruce.

“The concern is we are looking to see who is influencing her proposals,” Laugesen said. “There is a real sense that people are represented by Douglas Bruce -- that she is taking marching orders from Douglas Bruce.”

Laugesen said the concerns have bubbled up from residents who live in Collins’ District 4, where the southeast neighborhoods surround Peterson Air Force Base. Earlier this month, a group of citizens from District 4 initiated a recall effort against Collins. Laugesen said the government watch group and the recall effort are not connected.

Collins recently advanced an idea to ask voters to modify the Rural Transportation Authority funding plan -- which is for roads and transportation -- to set aside money for stormwater fixes.

Laugesen said the proposal sounds like Bruce’s anti-rain tax language.

“The verbiage comes from Bruce,” she said. “We are trying to get to the bottom of this. Is it coming from Collins or is it coming from Bruce. Her constituents have the right to know who is representing them.”

The nonprofit Colorado Springs Government Watch formed in November and set its sights on former City Councilman Joel Miller, asking for correspondence to and from legislative lobbyist Steve Durham and political consultant Patrick Davis. Miller resigned his council seat in late November and is running for mayor.

The government watch group, which has not revealed its board of directors or who is behind the effort, has sent two CORA requests to Collins. Laugesen said that Collins’ response was that CORA requests need to be directed to the City’s Attorney.

Collins, in an email to The Gazette, said she did not know the motivation behind the group’s requests.

Why don't you ask her who's in the group?  She'll probably say it's secret,” Collins wrote.

The group’s website posted a photo of Collins with Bruce. The site says “Acting on tips and other information we had received, we had asked the first-term councilwoman for documents that could shed light on her longtime relationship with controversial political activist Douglas Bruce, as well as with outspoken local activist Kanda Calef.”

Laugesen, who also appeared on Facebook in June 2012 in similarly posed photo with Bruce at his “jail release party” said she had been friendly with Bruce at one time but no longer is. She said she did not ask Bruce about his relationship with Collins. In 2012, Bruce was sentenced to 6 months in jail for tax evasion, among other things.

Laugesen said posting the photo of Collins and Bruce was fair.
 
“It does show the close relationship council member Collins has with Douglas Bruce,” she said. “It is in part guilt by association.”

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.