Monday, May 7, 2018

Chaffee County Republicans hit with campaign finance complaint

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 4:53 PM

click to enlarge DONKEY HOTEY
  • Donkey Hotey

The Republican Party of Chaffee County has some campaign finance problems, according to a complaint filed by the Chaffee County Democratic Party regarding the GOP's campaign finance report filed last year.

In it, the party claimed to have taken in zero contributions and spent zero funds. But during the nearly one year leading up to the report, the party hosted a Lincoln Day dinner, sponsored several raffles and rented buildings for various functions, the Dems allege.

In that GOP report filed in November to cover the previous year, the GOP failed to report ticket sales to the Lincoln Day dinner, rental of the county fairgrounds facility, a catered dinner in Buena Vista along with room rental and a raffle license application fee, to name a few.

Some of the spending was documented by the Democrats through records obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act, Allen says.

Now, the GOP has filed a new report, which essentially acknowledges that the November 2017 report was inaccurate, because it reports more than $8,000 in contributions and more than $4,400 in spending.

But that report still doesn't accurately reflect the GOP's financial activities, according to Democratic Party first vice chairperson JoAnne Allen, who says there was publicity about GOP members contributing by placing money into a firearm magazine but the Republican Party never reported such income.

The county GOP could face fines in the $9,000 range for violations of the Fair Campaign Practices Act, or more, if each expenditure and contribution is treated as a separate infraction at at $50 per day in fines.

But that's not the point, Allen says.

"We're not really doing it for the state to collect a fine," she says in an interview. "Our purpose is to bring transparency to our campaign process and our political process in Chaffee County."

The Dems' complaint was filed on April 27, and the Secretary of State's Office referred the matter to an administrative judge who will hear the matter on May 14.

Officials with Chaffee County Republicans didn't return a phone call and email seeking comment.

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