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?