Making “Dr. Evil” Talk

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eileen Welsome of the Colorado Springs Gazette updates on continuing efforts to get to the bottom of a nagging question: who paid to get Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101, known collectively as the “Dr. Evil” initiatives to essentially destroy the ability of state and local governments to function, on the 2010 ballot?

Several sponsors of three measures that will be on the November ballot have refused to answer basic questions about who was involved in drafting the ballot language, who gathered petition signatures, and who financed the massive signature-gathering effort, depositions show.

Mark Grueskin, an attorney representing government and business groups opposing the measures, alleged in a court document that the “obstructionist” tactics used by witnesses and individuals named in the campaign finance complaints have hampered his efforts to unravel the “scheme of secrecy”  behind the three ballot issues.

Those issues, Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101, would limit the ability of local and state governments and school districts to borrow and spend money…

Golden resident Russell Haas and Michelle Northrup, also from Black Hawk, are the sponsors of Amendment 61, which restricts borrowing by state and local governments without voter approval…Haas, a retired engineer and retired commercial pilot, refused to answer almost 100 questions in a deposition taken March 30, court records show.

When Haas was asked in the deposition how he became involved in the initiative, he said, “We were asked by several people.”

“And who were those people?” Grueskin asked.

“That’s not relevant to the complaint. The complaint is about money,” Haas responded…

When Grueskin asked,  “Are you aware of anyone who has spent any money on behalf of this petitioning effort?”

Haas responded, “I have received no money and I have spent no money.”

“Who paid the money to print the petitions?” Grueskin asked.

“I have received no money and I have spent no money,” Haas responded.

“Are you aware of anyone who has offered compensation for purposes of attracting circulators of this initiative?”

“I have received no money and I have spent no money.”

Well, somebody paid to get these initiatives on the ballot–Mark Grueskin’s filings make reference to a commercial outfit named ProVote America and “signature bounties,” which doesn’t point to a ‘volunteer’ effort. The fact is, it would be next to impossible on a practical level to get the number of signatures required for these initiatives without deploying a costly field campaign effort to do so: and you have to disclose those expenditures. This stinks to high heaven, and smacks of the kind of flagrant contempt for everything related to the public sector–including the law–common among fringy ‘libertarian’ activists. And it’s a situation that, if allowed to unfold unchallenged, could seriously undermine the legitimacy of election law in Colorado.

Apropos, the Gazette reports separately that Secretary of State Bernie Buescher is trying to force Doug “The Kicker” Bruce to comply with subpoenas about the funding for these initiatives, as it’s widely suspected that he is at the center of the whole plot–while the Summit Daily News follows the reaction of local officials as they wrap their heads around the implications. Yes, surprise, they’re crazy! Yes, they expect you to hold an election to lease a copy machine. Yes, they want to overturn the results of local elections all over the state. And no, they don’t have a plan for how you would deal with the results.

You’d hide too, wouldn’t you?


19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    She is an edgy conservative who loves to say NO and double loves the attention.

    I suppose they would want us to have an election before any funds could be used to clean up the Gulf.  Talk about micromanaging our government by people who hate it.  It’s just the kind of folly that Michelle is attracted to.

    • I’ve talked to her a number of times (welcome to political life in a small county), but never knew her last name.  I immediately connected the dots with this article, though – how many ardent small-government “libertarians” named Michelle in a county this size could there be?  I wish the article had been more clear on her responses to the Gazette’s questions – they only mention the responses of her co-sponsor; she always struck me as being more open and up-front and not into a cover-up like this.

      It is almost impossible to believe that no-one spent any money on printing these initiative signature forms, and I also seriously doubt that a volunteer network managed the signature gathering in such a short time across the entire state.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        when it comes to fervent beliefs.

        I’ve had dealings with her and she isn’t shy about rigging things to work in her favor.  Just sayin.

        • mrsfireeater says:

          Please qualify your accusation, thanks. I’m just wondering what sort of “rigging” you’re referring to because I have no idea what you are talking about.

          Thanks a bunch.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        the same questions.  I don’t know where her money comes from but she doesn’t have to work for a living and has plenty of time to indulge in her obsessions which seems to be primarily about protecting the rich from the horrors of contributing to a functioning government.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she was the one bankrolling this amendment.  It is convenient that they never asked her any questions about her contributions.

      • mrsfireeater says:

        I’ve learned so much from all of this, and it keeps on coming.

        I wonder why – when I do speak with the press or in court – no one wants to quote me? I talk plenty, that’s for sure. 😉


  2. allyncooper says:

    For those of you old enough, do the terms “stonewall” and “lie like hell” come to mind?

    Last time I had a subpoena duces tecum served in a lawsuit as plaintiff and the documents weren’t produced, the judge gave the defendants 48 hours to produce the documents or a warrant would be issued for their arrest. I had the documents in my hands in 24 hours.

    Maybe Bernie should try a little harder.

    Aren’t these people from the same place you have to bring your own lawnmower and cut the grass first if you want to enjoy a public park?  Thought so.  

  3. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    An initiative to stay on the ballot if people refuse to answer questions about whether the law was complied with in getting it on the ballot?

    If so, the law is a ass.

    BEFORE an initiative is allowed on the ballot, full disclosure should be required as to who funded it, who paid for the signature-takers.

    As it is, the creators of these initiatives were smart. They realized that the law is toothless when it comes to keeping illegal initiatives off the ballot, and they figure they can get away with it. They don’t care if they “stink to high heaven.” They’re used to it, kinda like pigs.

    Even if Doug Bruce has to cool his heels in jail, he won’t care. Free room and board from the socialist state, and he’s so ugly no prisoner would make him his girlfriend.

    And so the entire state – everyone sane, that is, Republicans and Democrats alike – will have to expend enormous effort and funds to ensure that these disastrous initiatives are defeated.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      This amendments like the egg one are potentially lethal to our society but when they get beaten by large majorities it puts a damper on extremist claims that they represent the majority.

      It also consumes their resources and it is a chance to show how extreme and out of touch with reality their fire breathing baloney really is.  It is the perfect time to ask them how much more important is it to them to enjoy that extra 10 bottles of Jack Daniels a year than spend their money by funding social services to help rescue little girls who are being abused and raped by their dads.  They aren’t concerned about the abused and in fact hate social workers who have to go into abusive homes with police escort and remove abused children. Good government happens all the time but these fire breathers will never admit it because then they might have to give up a fifth of scotch to pay for elementary school teachers.

      I have no problem confronting these extremists about their desires to destroy our society in the name of greed.  They really don’t need to drink all that extra alcohol anyway.

  4. Majority Moderate says:

    Who needs campaign reform?  Just deny that any money was collected or spent and then refuse to answer when people start asking questions.

    Many of the responders to the Gazette article couldn’t care less that the reporting laws were violated – these measures are on the ballot and that’s all that counts.

    What’s next, candidates won’t feel the need to file campaign finance forms?  Who cares?

    Bruce pulled this same stunt last year in Colorado Springs.  He got the City-killing initiative 300 on the ballot.  In the process he sent out fliers, put out campaign signs, printed bumper stickers, etc. and still has not filed one iota of any campaign reporting.  But it’s Bruce, so we’ll just let it slide.

    If they get away with this, any laws that Colorado has with regards to campaign reporting are worthless and, Katey bar the door, we’ll never know again who or what is funding any campaigns in this State.

    • Majority Moderate says:

      Bruce truly feels he is above the law – just ask him.   He is so much smarter than the rest of us mortal peons and the last thing he needs to do is comply with your silly laws.

      “Campaign reporting – we don’t need no stinkin’ campaign reporting”

    • Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

      That’s how I feel too. There ought to be a simple “you don’t comply, you get kicked off the ballot” rule. Make it a simple legal presumption that if you don’t disclose the info, your signatures don’t count.

      Doesn’t matter how many petition signatures you procured through not following the rules.

  5. Middle of the Road says:

    The Colorado Secretary of State has asked for an “expedited order” that would compel Colorado Springs anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce to comply with subpoenas seeking information about his involvement in three statewide ballot initiatives.

    The Colorado Attorney General, acting as the Secretary of State’s representative, filed the petition late Friday.

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