Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Grand jury investigation of SoS Wayne Williams closed

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 4:52 PM

click to enlarge An investigation of Secretary of State Wayne Williams' intervening in campaign finance cases has ended. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • An investigation of Secretary of State Wayne Williams' intervening in campaign finance cases has ended.
The investigation of the Secretary of State's Office has been called off.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann issued this statement:
The Denver Grand Jury issued subpoenas to Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert on March 20, 2018. My office has since received additional documents which the Secretary of State’s Office provided voluntarily and yesterday I met with attorneys representing Secretary Williams and Deputy Secretary Staiert. I am requesting that the Grand Jury withdraw the subpoenas that had previously been issued and my office will close the grand jury investigation at this time.
Secretary of State's spokesperson Lynn Bartels tells the Independent via email, "We have always maintained that we follow the law and that this was not about granting favors, as the complainant, Matt Arnold, alleged. Matt has a long history of attacking the secretary of state."

Matt Arnold, who heads Campaign Integrity Watchdog which instigated the investigation, had a lot to say about the investigation being called off. From his email to the Indy:

My understanding of the grand jury process is that once they take up the case, decisions on how or whether to proceed are up to them, precisely in order to insulate the process from political influence.
Apparently that does not seem to be the case.

The facts related to the allegations are essentially undisputed:

1) SOS Williams failure to collect the $9,650 penalty owed by his buddy Bob Gardner & Sarah Jack's guilty political committee (ASIWH), as required per Colo. Const. Art. XXVIII Section 10(d) is undisputed.
Williams claims he is "unable" to collect the penalty because "the committee has no money" and because the office can only pursue collections against individuals if the violator is a candidate.
Two problems with that statement:
a) the constitutional mandate applies regardless of what the committee CLAIMS to have in funds available; clearly, lots of people owing debts CLAIM to have no money, but collections occur either way
b) ASIWH has continued operations, receiving and spending tens of thousands of dollars, in other legal proceedings, which are well documented. Wayne is aware of this fact.
c) the Final Agency Decision found as FACT that the ASIWH committee never had a separate bank account (as required by law) and that all committee finances flowed through the accounts of its officer, Sarah Brittain Jack.

Due to that illegal commingling of funds, collections in this instance are not only warranted against the individual (committee officer) accounts, they are mandatory.
Wayne knows this, as he has been repeatedly apprised of the facts (both the Court's Order and factual findings, and the subsequent financial activity by ASIWH). Yet, he refuses to refer the outstanding debt to collections.

Wayne's failure to carry out his constitutionally mandated duties to collect the outstanding penalties owed the state by his associates and campaign contributors is clearly "for the benefit of" those persons.

Ergo, it would seem that both fact and law are indisputable. I cannot conceive of what "additional documents" could have been provided to call either fact or law into question.

2) SOS Williams has allocated tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars for legal services to intervene at the trial court level in campaign finance cases (which is unprecedented in the history of Colorado's campaign finance laws) to DEFEND several committees charged with violations of state law - all of which seem to either involve Wayne's campaign contributors, political associates, or affiliates and/or involve cases brought by Campaign Integrity Watchdog to prosecute violators.

SOS Williams claims the interventions were to "defend the law" rather than intended to benefit the particular defendants; however, rather than apply the existing law as written, the SOS positions have uniformly argued in favor of changing or re-defining the law (again, curiously aligning with the position of the Respondents). In each of the cases, the legal positions taken by the Secretary have been refuted by the courts.

Most egregiously, in at least one case (the SOS has refused to provide evidence or answer CORA requests to confirm or deny in other cases), the Secretary actually entered into a secret agreement with the Respondents expressly intended to lead to DISMISSAL of the charges - clearly, a position taken for the benefit of the defendant committee rather than a neutral position on interpretation of the law.

Again, the facts - SOS intervenes at the trial court level in campaign finance cases, documentably pursuing a result "for the benefit of" the defendant - are indisputable.
Consequently, the violations of law would also appear to be indisputable.

Once again, I cannot conceive of what "additional information" could have been provided to call either fact or law into question.
In response to all that, Bartels says via email, "Now Matt Arnold is an expert on the grand jury process? The investigation was dismissed because it never should have been started in the first place.”

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