Douglas Bruce wins 60-61-101 case, but lawyer says order to testify "smacks of Big Brother"
The resolution of the latest case against tax-hater Douglas Bruce has been portrayed by the press as a mixed bag. True, Bruce wasn't held in contempt for not testifying in a lawsuit involving Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 -- but the judge ordered him to testify about his possible association with the measures. David Lane, Bruce's attorney, sees things differently, though.
"This was a contempt proceeding. They wanted him in jail," Lane emphasizes. "And not only did they not get that, but they found him not to be in contempt. So that was a win."
As for the media's take, Lane points to the article on the subject in the Denver Post. "People read it and take the attitude of 'There was no contempt, but look what he's got to do,'" he says.
Of course, Bruce has made a career of not doing things expected of him -- and Lane believes he shouldn't have to in this instance, either.
To explain: Attorney Mark Grueskin, recently interviewed by Westword about Clear the Bench Colorado's campaign to toss out several Supreme Court justices, filed a lawsuit against the folks allegedly behind 60-61-101, charging that they hadn't followed state rules. Along the way, Bruce was subpoenaed under the theory that he'd provided undeclared support for the initiative backers -- but he wasn't formally served, despite a reported thirty attempts to do so, and never testified.
In the end, Judge Brian Whitney rejected the argument that Bruce should be held in contempt of court for allegedly dodging the subpoena; he said he'd been out of town. But he also ordered Bruce to testify in Grueskin's suit -- a prospect that Lane rejects as onerous.
"They may suspect that Doug Bruce contributed to these campaigns," he points out, "but Doug Bruce is under no obligation to disclose anything about who he gives money to, who he supports and who he doesn't support. If the guys running the ballot initiative got something from Doug Bruce and they're obligated to disclose, that's their problem. But should a citizen be compelled to answer a question regarding their politics? Because that's the issue.