DENVER (CBS4/AP) – Tax activist Douglas Bruce wasted no time Monday fighting tax-evasion charges after a judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf, calling the claims “just lunacy.”
Bruce, the father of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, said the government accountants were trying to smear his reputation because he’s an outspoken critic of public spending. He was accused of evading taxes between 2005 and 2007 through a nonprofit group fighting that spending.
“I did not thing wrong, zero, zip, nada, they owe me a refund,” Bruce said.
The curmudgeonly former state lawmaker tried to have the case tossed, but Denver District Judge Anne M. Mansfield said she would consider his motions later.
Bruce, who has not retained a lawyer, told the judge that he has been turned away by “more than two dozen” lawyers but will keep trying before his December court date.
“I had someone say, `I wouldn’t represent you in a million years,”‘ Bruce told reporters.
Bruce had his arraignment delayed last month while he reviewed evidence against him. The government wants to “put me in prison to be sodomized for 10 years,” he told reporters.
If convicted, Bruce faces a fine up to $500,000 or possible jail time.
Authorities say Bruce failed to report money that went to a nonprofit group, Active Citizens Together, which earned some $178,000 in interest between 2005 and 2007. They say Bruce should have paid taxes on that interest.
The charity has since disbanded. Bruce said he gave it more than $2 million to advocate for smaller government and educate new voters by handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution to high school graduates.
Bruce said he wasn’t profiting from the charity and was being punished for funding small-government advocacy.
“They’re trying to make sure I never inform the people of their rights,” Bruce said.
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