The Chaffee County Democrats filed a campaign finance complaint against the Chaffee County Republican Central Committee for alleged violations of the Fair Campaign Practices Act, Article 28 of the Colorado Constitution.
The Democrats’ complaint, filed with the Colorado secretary of state April 26, alleges the Republicans failed to report “contributions received and expenditures made during the financial reporting period of 12/4/16-10/27/17.”
On May 1 the secretary of state referred the complaint to the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts, which scheduled a hearing before an administrative law judge for May 14 – Case Number OS 2018-0008.
The court’s notice of hearing states that the Colorado constitution puts the burden of proof “by a preponderance of the evidence” on the complainant, i.e., the Chaffee Democrats.
As documented on the Colorado secretary of state’s website, on Oct. 29 the Chaffee County Republican Central Committee reported $0 in expenditures and $0 in contributions during the 10-month reporting period, including “non-monetary contributions.”
Unreported contributions alleged in the complaint include several items related to the Republicans’ 2017 Lincoln Day Dinner: proceeds from ticket sales; proceeds from raffle tickets; and in-kind donations of a firearm for the raffle, silent auction items, and food and beverages.
The complaint also claims the Chaffee Republicans failed to report expenditures for a post office box rental, a booth rental for 2017 Gold Rush Days, the cost of a booth at the 2017 Chaffee County Fair, purchase of advertising at the Chaffee County Fair, and $1,323 in expenses related to the Lincoln Day Dinner raffle.
Citing Colorado law, the Democrats’ complaint requests fines of $50 per day for each violation for each day that the Republicans’ “disclosure to the secretary of state was inaccurate.”
As of May 2, 182 days have passed since the Republican Central Committee filed its contributions and expenditures report with the secretary of state, which would put the requested fines at $9,100 per violation.
Chaffee County Democrats Vice Chair JoAnne Allen said, “The Chaffee County Democrats believe that campaign integrity begins at the local level. The campaign finance rules were made to bring fairness, transparency and accountability to the campaign process. All candidates and parties should follow the rules.”
Chaffee County Republicans Chair Dave Williams said he was unaware of the complaint and, therefore, could not comment at this time.