The sponsors of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, also known as the "Dr. Evil Initiatives," had to endure some uncomfortable questioning as well as fines after it was discovered they may have had ties to TABOR author Doug Bruce, who has denied any hand in the budget-strangling measures.
Petition proponents for Amendment 60 are Bonnie Sloan of Black Hawk and Louis Schroeder of Greenwood Village. Proponents of 61 are Russell Haas of Golden and Michelle Northrup, also of Black Hawk. Proposition 101 was proposed by Jeff Gross, a house painter from Kersey, Co., and Freda Poundstone of Centennial. Schroeder, Haas and Gross were all ordered to pay fines of $2,000 each by Colorado Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer after a complaint was filed alleging violations of fair campaign finance and practice laws as they failed to register as issue committees and failed to report financial contributions. The Colorado Court of Appeals received an appeal on July 21 regarding all three cases, and they are set to be heard on October 18.
Meanwhile, Northrup testified in May that she did not approve of the evasion tactics being used by the other backers of the ballot issues, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. She claimed she didn't "approve of orders being barked at me" by Doug Bruce.
It is thought that the proponents may have fallen on the sword for Bruce, the alleged mastermind of the measures. He was cited for contempt of court after failing to testify about the identity of the financial backers of the initiatives. El Paso County Sheriff's deputies have made 30 attempts to serve Bruce but he has continually evaded them. Bruce has since retained the services of Denver attorney David Lane, who also represented the father of the infamous "balloon boy" Richard Heene.
According to records at the Colorado Secretary of State's office, eight professional petition circulators who gathered a large number of signatures for the three measures all lived in an apartment house in Colorado Springs owned by Bruce.
The campaign coordinator for the three ballot measures is Natalie Menten of Lakewood, who ran unsuccessfully for State Senate District 21 in 2008 and for Lakewood City Council in 2009 on the Republican ticket.
The largest contributors to the campaign to get the measures on the ballot are members of the wealthy Hasan family of Pueblo. That same family recently made headlines when it was learned they paid former U.S. Congressman Scott McInnis $300,000 to write about water issues, which led to charges of plagiarism. Those charges may have cost McInnis in his gubernatorial primary loss against Dan Maes. To date, the Hasans have contributed a total of $10,000 to support the initiatives. They made their millions by creating one of the largest health maintenance organizations (HMOs) in America. The next largest contributors were Coleen and William Robinson, retired, of Denver, who contributed $2,760 for office space, according to the Colorado Campaign Finance Database.