- - Monday, February 13, 2012

COLORADO

Lawmaker gets jail for tax evasion

DENVER —- The father of Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights was sentenced Monday to 180 days in jail and six years of probation for evading state taxes.

Douglas Bruce, a former Colorado lawmaker, said state officials went after him for promoting smaller government. He vowed to appeal.

“This is not the end. This is just — what do they call? — a strange interlude,” Bruce said. He was ordered to report to jail Friday.

Bruce was sentenced after his felony convictions for evading state taxes, filing a false return, and failing to file a tax return between 2005 and 2010.

Prosecutors said he hid millions of dollars in a sham charity he set up to avoid taxes.

Bruce was also ordered to pay nearly $50,000 in restitution and court costs, and to share personal financial information with the government, including his checking accounts and investments. His jail term comes from two consecutive 90-day terms.

CAMPAIGN

Romney’s top bundlers remain anonymous

Despite criticism of Fannie Mae by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, his campaign accepted nearly $280,000 in donations raised by a registered lobbyist who once represented the government mortgage giant and whose clients now include a private equity firm and the drug company Pfizer.

Yet Mr. Romney has not identified all of his so-called fundraising “bundlers” who have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, even after President Obama’s re-election campaign released the names of his top fundraisers. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich also haven’t disclosed their bundlers. Ron Paul’s campaign has said it doesn’t use them. For more than a decade, since the election of George W. Bush in 2000, presidential campaigns have identified their bundlers.

In an age of super PACs, which can pull in millions of dollars from anonymous donors, bundlers still matter to modern presidential campaigns. These well-connected executives collect or direct multiple individual contributions of up to $2,500 to a campaign in amounts that can range from $50,000 to more than $500,000. Wayne Berman, the chairman of Ogilvy Government Relations and a former Fannie Mae lobbyist, gathered $279,075 for Mr. Romney in 2011.

The lack of disclosure prevents voters from knowing who wields influence within a presidential campaign. Keeping their identities secret could end up stinging Mr. Romney — like the mishandled release of his income tax returns — if voters conclude he is withholding politically damaging information.

Federal law requires only that candidates disclose the identities of bundlers who also are registered lobbyists, which the Romney campaign has done. Mr. Berman and 15 other lobbyists representing a wide range of interests raised nearly $2.2 million for Romney in last year, according to Federal Election Commission records. Their clients included investment firms and a mortgage processing company accused of “robo-signing” foreclosure documents.

Story Continues →