Talk about a late Friday news dump. The man who became an anti-tax folk hero for convincing voters to pass Colorado’s statewide Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights amendment in 1992 — and was censured for kicking a photographer the day he was sworn in as a lawmaker— has added another page to his colorful history. A judge just sentenced Douglas Bruce to the slammer. Again.
From Bruce’s hometown newspaper, The Colorado Springs Gazette:
Former state Rep. Douglas Bruce was taken from a courtroom in handcuffs after he was sentenced to at least two years in prison Friday.
Bruce, 66, was convicted in 2012 of tax evasion, filing a false tax return and trying to influence a public servant. Denver District Judge Sheila A. Rappaport ruled on Jan. 19 that he violated five terms of his probation.
The paper reports Bruce maintained his innocence.
“I have no remorse because I’m not guilty,” Bruce told the judge, according to The Gazette. “…I’m not going to mislead you by saying I’m sorry or I’ll never do it again because that’s not the case.”
A former attorney and Colorado Springs landlord, Bruce had been in and out of court hearings since the summer to determine whether he had violated his parole following a prison term on tax evasion charges. Media had also been questioning his purchase of several rental properties for which he’d left behind a trail of tax bills and fines. Bruce was also embroiled in a local ethics complaint against his friend and current city councilwoman Helen Collins who had participated with him on a real estate deal.
As for his political life, Bruce waged a successful campaign against a tax increase for infrastructure in Colorado Springs in 2014— and an unsuccessful campaign against a local tax increase for roads in April.
In October, Bruce accused the state’s political elite of trying to send him back to prison because of his work against tax increases. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers was the state’s Republican attorney general who handled Bruce’s earlier indictment for tax evasion.
Bruce had also called his initial prosecution politically motivated.
“In one of a dozen motions he filed before the trial began, Bruce noted that he had authored the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, and wrote that he was ‘being singled out for exercising his constitutional rights’ because ‘most government officials publicly resent TABOR,’ reported The Gazette in 2012.
That year, the Colorado Springs Independent, the city’s alt-weekly, provided a timeline “Tracking the combustible Douglas Bruce through the years.”
*A previous version of this post stated Bruce was going to prison again. He was in jail the first time.
[Photo credit:NewYork Lawyers via Creative Commons on Flickr]