"I am innocent. I shall prevail. I will appeal," Bruce said after the sentence was handed down. "I have been the subject of persecution and prosecution for 19 years since the TABOR amendment passed."
Bruce, 62, was sentenced for felony charges including evading state taxes, filing a false return and failing to file a tax return between 2005 and 2010. He must turn himself in by Friday.
He was also sentenced to six years of probation and is required to pay his back taxes and the cost of his prosecution.
It is a jail sentence that will, according to Assistant Colorado Attorney General Robert Shapiro, "teach [Bruce] that simply being a Colorado citizen requires that you simply pay your taxes, no penny more and no penny less."
David Lane, Bruce's defense attorney, says his client is right to remain unrepentant.
"There are a lot of people who are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt who are in fact not guilty, and they shouldn't be repentant for something they did not do," Lane said.
At one point Bruce compared himself, to some small extent, to a political prisoner.
"If they want to put me in that company, it's unwittingly a compliment to my political effectiveness and my integrity. They will be able to have my body, but they will not have my soul," he said.
Bruce was convicted of hiding millions of dollars in a sham charity prosecutors said he set up to avoid taxes.
The Colorado Attorney General's office provided this example: Bruce deposited $2 million in an account for Active Citizens Together. This account earned interest in the amount of $38,000 in 2005, $55,000 in 2006, and $85,000 in 2007, which Bruce failed to report to state and federal taxing authorities as income. During those time periods, Bruce used these funds as his own.
Bruce also was indicted for filing a false tax return on income he earned during the 2005 tax year and failing to file a tax return concerning income he earned during the 2006 and 2007 tax years.
Bruce, a former state lawmaker, said state officials went after him for promoting smaller government.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)