Bruce avoids a ‘perp walk,’ but discredits his initiatives
It appears that Attorney General John Suthers has finally found the right threat to intimidate Douglas Bruce into showing up for a court date. Bruce doesn’t want to be photographed in an orange jumpsuit doing the “perp walk” if he is arrested. Just why he should be entitled to such genteel treatment will baffle anyone who has followed his shenanigans over the past two months.
In May, the state tried 30 times to serve Bruce with court papers ordering him to testify in a case to determine who funded three anti-tax initiatives on the November ballot. Denver District Judge Brian Whitney ordered Bruce to appear in court July 26 to explain why he should not be held in contempt of court. Bruce “remains in disobedience” of the court’s orders, the Judge ruled, and he may have “obstructed the administration of justice.”
Bruce is in a high dudgeon because, after he ducked all attempts to serve him with subpoenas, an administrative judge found ample evidence showing Bruce to have organized the petition drive to put Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 on the ballot. Any of these measures could cripple state and local governments; all three could turn Colorado into a failed state, unable to meet basic obligations of state or local government.
Following the contempt of court finding, Judge Whitney issued a citation on the contempt charges, and ordered Bruce to appear in court. If he fails to do so, he will be arrested.
With the gall that only a self-righteous miscreant of Dickensian proportions could muster, Bruce casts himself as the victim in this effort to hold him responsible for his part in getting these poison initiatives on the ballot.
In an e-mail to Suthers, Bruce characterized the court hearings he ducked as a “lynching” and a “one-sided vendetta.” He also accuses the attorney general of seeking “political revenge” and furthering his campaign for re-election. “I am sure your actions are of great benefit to your re-election campaign,” he told Suthers, “using an unpopular public figure as a political whipping boy has got to be a political ‘no-brainer,’ a slam dunk winner.”
Charging Suthers and Judge Whitney with inappropriate contact and other behavior that is “unethical, illegal, and unconstitutional,” Bruce reaches his crescendo as the persecuted victim. After dodging 30 subpoenas in a month, he complains “it appears no tax-paid government employee thinks my attendance is required at any stage of this political show trial. I would not be surprised if you and the judge again got together privately and convicted and sentenced me without bothering to let me speak.”
And he gets personal. “No matter how much you hate the three tax-limiting petitions that are on the November ballot, no matter how much you despise me personally or TABOR generally,” he tells Suthers, “that anger does not excuse your acts of political revenge on me, your unilateral presentations to the judge, or your trying me in the newspapers via your tax-paid public relations staff.”
Having unleashed his invective and insults, he then demands special consideration. “If you obtain a warrant for my arrest,” he says, “I am notifying you that I will appear voluntarily in court at any time. There is no need for a ‘perp walk’ parading me in handcuffs, or to allow your friends in the media to take pictures of me in an orange jump suit.”
Suthers now must serve Bruce with the court order holding him in contempt. If he refuses this order, he can be arrested. According to a statement from a spokesman for the AG’s office, “Based on that e-mail, we have every reason to believe Mr. Bruce is willing to comply with the process.”
Hopefully, Bruce will show up for the hearing. This is not because he deserves to be spared the indignity of a “perp walk,” but because only when he is brought before the court, will investigators be able to unravel the financing of the three Bruce initiatives. The findings of this investigation could determine their fate at the ballot box.
To that end, Bruce’s antics have helped discredit his initiatives. Their defeat will be more satisfying even than watching Bruce do the “perp walk.”