Douglas Bruce, convicted tax cheat
There is a great deal of justice in the fact that Douglas Bruce — Colorado’s most infamous anti-tax activist — is likely on his way to prison for cheating on his state taxes.
Bruce, who lives in Colorado Springs, was convicted of tax evasion in Denver District Court last Wednesday. The jury also found him guilty of filing a false tax return, attempting to influence a public servant and failing to file a state tax return between 2005 and 2010.
Bruce, who has vowed to appeal, is to be sentenced Feb. 13. He could face up to 12 years in prison for his crimes.
Bruce is best known to most Coloradans as the author of the state’s TABOR Amendment, the 1992 constitutional measure that limits state and local tax revenue increases and requires voter approval for any tax increase.
He even has a political process informally named for him. “De-Brucing” occurs when citizens vote to allow the state or local government entities to be exempt from some of the provisions of the TABOR Amendment.
But Douglas Bruce’s anti-tax activism didn’t end with TABOR. At least two times since 1992, he has been behind ballot measures that aimed to substantially defund government.
Just last year, he was found to be a leading proponent and funder of three ballot measures that would have gutted state and local government budgets. A nonprofit group he formed was fined more than $11,000 for failing to file appropriate campaign finance documents related to the three ballot measures, all of which lost.
Bruce also served as a county commissioner from El Paso County, and briefly as a member of the state Legislature, where he got in trouble for kicking a photographer and for statements he made about illegal immigrants.
He has also had repeated run-ins with the city of Colorado Springs over code violations and maintenance of several rental properties he has owned in the city.
Bruce has long tried to paint himself as a victim, the target of political prosecution. And he used that claim again in reference to his trial on tax-evasion charges.
But Bruce is the victim only of his own arrogance and his apparent belief that he could avoid taxes that he so despises, simply because he didn’t want to pay them.