The Associated Press July 26, 2010, 4:38PM ET

Anti-tax crusader to fight contempt allegations

The father of Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights is fighting a contempt-of-court citation.

Douglas Bruce of Colorado Springs appeared Monday to answer a contempt citation related to a lawsuit over tax-cutting measures headed to state ballots this fall. Bruce has said he has nothing to do with those ballot measures.

Bruce says he was simply out of town visiting presidential birth homes when government officials attempted to serve the subpoena.

"I can produce motel receipts ... to prove that I wasn't here," said Bruce, a former lawyer who represented himself Monday.

The government argues that Bruce evaded the subpoena and should face civil or even criminal penalties for contempt. Bruce has not been charged with a crime.

The case resumes Aug. 18. Bruce tried unsuccessfully Monday to have a Denver just recuse himself from the case. Bruce says he thinks the judge is biased against him.

Bruce argued that even if he'd received the subpoena order, he could have challenged its validity. Bruce mentioned a prominent Denver street to make an example that court orders can be legally refused if they're unreasonable.

"If you ordered me to walk down Colfax naked, I couldn't be ordered to comply," Bruce said. Denver District Judge Brian Whitney seemed to lose patience with Bruce's arguments and at one point asked the tax crusader to stop interrupting him.

The lawsuit is about three tax-cutting measures Colorado voters will consider this fall. Opponents fear that the proposals, which include limits on government financing, could devastate local and state government.

They have sued to challenge the propriety of those measures, saying Bruce directed petition efforts for the measures but wasn't properly listed as a backer. Bruce has denied involvement.


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