Friday, October 7, 2011

April election lives on, in the form of a lawsuit

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Bruce
  • Bruce

Hard to believe, but the city is still dealing with the April election and the conflicts it caused.

One issue in particular has yet to be resolved: Who should go after former City Council candidate Douglas Bruce and his ill-fated Reform Team for campaign finance violations?

The city says the state should do it, despite the fact the Bruce and Co. violated a city ordinance. An administrative law judge long ago threw out the city's complaint, saying the state had no jurisdiction to enforce the election laws of a home rule city.

But wait, the city appealed that decision, asking that an administrative law judge take a second look. The thing waded its way through the judicial system once again.

Recently, Ethics Watch, which originally brought violations to the city's attention, filed a brief in support of making the city enforce its own laws. So did Bruce and the secretary of state's office. Luis Toro, head of Ethics Watch, said he was amused to be on the same side as some of his most notable adversaries.

"It really speaks to how 'out there' the city's position is, because they enacted an ordinance that's a city ordinance, and they're trying to pawn the enforcement off on the state," he said.

Toro says he expects that in a few months, the appeals court will affirm the administrative law judge's decision and throw the ball squarely in the city's court. While it's likely a little late to pursue a case against Bruce — who, after all, lost the election by a wide margin — the ruling will help determine how the city runs elections in the future.

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