Friday, September 28, 2012

Ethics Watch calls out local Republican club

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:51 PM

On June 9, the Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum, hosted a fundraising dinner. It must have been a lovely event, with cocktails, dinner and a silent auction at the DoubleTree Hotel, with a presentation by the charming Michelle Malkin.

The $65-per-person charge was going to "support efforts to elect Republican candidates."

Invite to fundraiser
  • Screen grab from Ethics Watch complaint
  • Invite to fundraiser

Today, Denver-based Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's office. According to a press release, the Republican Forum was operating as an unregistered political committee when it raised funds for candidates.

The president of the forum, Kay Rendleman, was unavailable for comment.

Luis Toro, with Ethics Watch, points out that Rendleman is a long-time Republican activist, having served as chair of the El Paso County Republican Party.

"This is not a bunch of newbies who don't know that there are disclosure requirements," he says. "We've been in touch with them for a while, but we've had a lot of excuses and stalling, to the point that we feel that we have to initiate the legal process."

From the release:

According to the Secretary of State’s website, there is no active political committee registered with the Secretary of State for Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum. However, also according to the Secretary of State’s website, 12 candidates for state legislature reported receiving contributions of $400.00 each from an entity named “Cheyenne Mtn Republican Forum” or similar.


In El Paso County, Rep. Mark Barker, who is seeking re-election in House District 17, was one of those recipients. (Toro confirms this despite his name being spelled "Barber" on the press release.)


“The point of campaign finance laws is to make sure that money flowing into political campaigns does not fly under the radar,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “While the candidates did the right thing in reporting these contributions, it appears the entity making the contributions is trying to avoid scrutiny. Coloradans are entitled to know who is funding this mysterious PAC.”

The Colorado constitution defines a “political committee” as “any person, other than a natural person, or any group of two or more persons, including natural persons, that have accepted or made contributions or expenditures in excess of $200 to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more candidates.” Therefore, Ethics Watch believes that Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum should be registered as a political committee and should have filed reports on September 4 and September 17.

Read the full release after the jump.

Ethics Watch uncovered information that indicates Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum held a fundraising event on June 9, 2012. Invitations to the event listed a ticket price of $65 per person and stated that “proceeds of the dinner and silent auction go to support efforts to elect Republican candidates to office.”

According to the Secretary of State’s website, there is no active political committee registered with the Secretary of State for Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum. However, also according to the Secretary of State’s website, 12 candidates for state legislature reported receiving contributions of $400.00 each from an entity named “Cheyenne Mtn Republican Forum” or similar. Those candidates include:

• Committee to Elect David J. Pigott
• Kerber for Colorado
• Friends of Rick Enstrom
• Friends of Amy Attwood
• Committee to Elect Mark Barber [sic]
• Sampson for State Senate
• Ramirez for Colorado
• Committee to Elect Cindy Acree
• Brian Watson for Colorado
• Sias for Colorado Senate
• Committee to Elect Ken Summers
• Committee to Elect Larry Crowder

“The point of campaign finance laws is to make sure that money flowing into political campaigns does not fly under the radar,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “While the candidates did the right thing in reporting these contributions, it appears the entity making the contributions is trying to avoid scrutiny. Coloradans are entitled to know who is funding this mysterious PAC.”

The Colorado constitution defines a “political committee” as “any person, other than a natural person, or any group of two or more persons, including natural persons, that have accepted or made contributions or expenditures in excess of $200 to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more candidates.” Therefore, Ethics Watch believes that Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum should be registered as a political committee and should have filed reports on September 4 and September 17.

Ethics Watch’s Complaint asks the Administrative Law Judge to order Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum to register and report the delinquent information and to impose upon Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum fines reflecting $50 per day for every day a report is delinquent. As of today, that fine would equal $1,250.

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