Ethics Watch files complaint against Bruce

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As promised, Colorado Ethics Watch has filed a complaint with the city regarding the odd campaign disclosure styles of Douglas Bruce and Co.

We wrote about the subject for today's paper here.

Here's what Ethics Watch had to say today on the subject:

Colorado Ethics Watch Requests Investigation of Doug Bruce and Reform Team
by Colorado Springs City Attorney

DENVER — Today, Colorado Ethics Watch asked the Mayor and Vice Mayor of Colorado Springs, as well as members of the City Council, to direct the City Attorney to investigate possible violations of Colorado Springs’ campaign finance ordinance by Douglas Bruce and the Reform Team political committee. The Reform Team is a registered political committee, with Bruce as the registered agent.

Bruce and four other candidates for at-large City Council seats who have been identified as members of the Reform Team on the website www.reformcityhall.com - Ed Bircham, Richard Bruce, Helen Collins and Gretchen Kasameyer - have filed declarations of candidacy, personal financial disclosures, and other documents required to qualify for the ballot. None of them, however, has registered a candidate committee or disclosed any contributions received or expenditures made as candidates. Instead, the “Reform Team” filed as a political action committee (PAC) with Douglas Bruce identified as its registered agent.

The Fair Campaign Practices Act, incorporated into the Colorado Springs Municipal Code, defines a candidate committee as a committee operating under the authority of a candidate. With Bruce serving as the registered agent of the Reform Team while at the same time running for a city council seat, Ethics Watch believes that Bruce has violated campaign finance laws by failing to register a candidate committee or file disclosures specific to his own campaign.

“It is simply not OK for a candidate to operate a PAC and spend money on his own and others’ campaigns through the PAC, while skipping the obvious step of registering a candidate committee,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “PACs are supposed to operate independently of candidates. This is not some technical filing mistake but rather one more example of Doug Bruce’s express contempt for campaign finance laws.”

The Colorado Springs Municipal Code provides that in addition to being assessed a fine, a candidate who knowingly violates the Code’s disclosure provisions “shall, in addition, forfeit the right to assume the nomination or to take the oath for the office to which the candidate may have been elected, unless the candidate has already taken the oath, in which case the office shall be vacated.” Because the potential violation could affect Bruce’s eligibility for election, Ethics Watch urges the City Council to act quickly to direct the City Attorney to investigate and, if appropriate, file and prosecute a complaint.

For the letter requesting this investigation and all related documentation, or for more information on Colorado Ethics Watch, visit www.coloradoforethics.org.

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