Wednesday, March 8, 2017

El Paso County GOP pays to settle campaign finance case

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge money_jpeg.jpg
UPDATE:
We asked Matt Arnold to comment on Daniel Cole's comments and heard back from him via email:

that article certainly contained lots of innuendo and ad hominems by Dan Cole.
Fairly typical of lawbreakers - blame the prosecution in order to deflect from their own misdeeds.
Rather pathetic, actually.
Aren't Republicans supposed to be the party of individual responsibility?

not that it's of any relevance, but I'm not terribly involved in the state party chair race.
Not my circus, not my monkeys.

Hays apparently has a personal vendetta against me, dating back half a decade; apparently related to his support for Amy "Amycare" Stephens and his embarrassment at having Amycare Amy's support for the ZeroCare "exchanges" in Colorado exposed by my then-girlfriend Sarah Anderson, now wife.
Your paper ran a number of articles on that topic, as I recall.

Apparently Jeff's vindictiveness and grudges run deep, and extend to his willingness to break party bylaws to attack the husband of the lady who helped usher in the end of the political career of the object of his sycophancy - a willingness to break party bylaws that apparently continues to this day.

So his contempt for both party bylaws and state law seems to be a continuing issue.
—————-ORIGINAL POST 3:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 2017———————-

The El Paso County Republican Party has come to an agreement with Campaign Integrity Watchdog to settle a case involving five campaign finance violations.

The party will pay a fine of $250, rather than pay the full fine amount of $30,850, CIW said in a news release.

At issue is five violations in a campaign finance report filed by the party some time ago. The violations were failure to list the occupation of four donors and listing the incorrect occupation for a fifth donor.

The party also faces a possible $500 fine for each violation if the donations, totaling $1,380, are not returned immediately.

GOP spokesman Daniel Cole says the donations will be returned immediately, but noted the report on which five violations were found included 50,000 data cells, which translates to a 99.99 percent accuracy rate.

More from Cole can be found below the CIW news release, which stated:
Campaign Integrity Watchdog (CIW) continued a streak of prosecutorial victories with a ruling released Tuesday entering judgment against the El Paso County Republican Central Committee (EPCRCC) for five violations of state campaign finance law.

The county party’s new leadership admitted to the violations, committed under former chairman Jeff Hays, and settled with CIW in a joint stipulated judgment, for reduced penalties and avoiding the expense of a public hearing.

In a joint motion for stipulated judgment, both parties agreed that “the maximum applicable statutory penalties for the five stipulated reporting violations would equal $30,850.00 in total (calculated at $50.00 per day per violation from the date of each violation to the date of filing the Complaint). Both parties agree that the maximum applicable penalties would be unreasonable in light of EPCRCC’s acceptance of responsibility and subsequent diligence in correcting the reporting violations.

Instead of the $30,850.00 that would apply per statute, CIW responded to the new county party leadership’s request for leniency by agreeing to impose a minimal $50 per violation on agreement to correct the deficiencies and return the illegal contributions, with an additional $500 per violation suspended sentence for any violation of the order (for a total penalty paid of $250, with an additional $2500 in the event of failure to “fix” the reports and return improperly reported contributions, as required by law).

CIW's officer, Matt Arnold, stated that, “although the many violations committed by El Paso County Republicans under Chairman Jeff Hays are serious, a settlement ensured swift and sure accountability while facilitating rapid conclusion of the complaint without delay, and avoided transferring guilt from the former to the current EPCRCC leadership. It would be unfair to force El Paso County Republicans to dig themselves out of a $30,000 hole created by the former chairman’s lack of due diligence and reckless disregard for the party’s disclosure obligations under state law.”
Cole says Arnold has made a "habit" of such petty violations and notes that Reason magazine recently featured Arnold as the "poster child" for Colorado's "screwed up campaign finance regime."

Cole also suggested Arnold's pursuit of the county party in this case could be politically motivated, because Arnold supports George Athanasopoulos for state party chair. Athanasopoulos is running against former county party chair Jeff Hays.

We've asked Arnold about this and will report back when we hear something.

Meantime, here's a story from coloradopolitics.com about Arnold and Athanasopoulos.

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