Fliergate alleged 

Republican blasts party tactics in D-11 race

click to enlarge Longtime Colorado Springs resident and Republican Joe - Henjum. - COURTESY OF JOE HENJUM
  • courtesy of Joe Henjum
  • Longtime Colorado Springs resident and Republican Joe Henjum.

Slick fliers trumpeting Bob Lathen, Carla Albers and Reginald Perry as chosen Republican candidates in the Colorado Springs District 11 school board race sparked a legal complaint just days before the election results came in Tuesday night.

Joe Henjum, a longtime Republican and retired Air Force colonel, says he filed the complaint because he considered the campaigning an illegal and immoral attempt to dupe conservatives into supporting the three candidates in the traditionally nonpartisan race.

"The mailers were puzzling," says Henjum, who publicly supported another candidate, John Gudvangen, in the race. "First, there was no name for who was sending them."

The complaint, filed with the secretary of state, contends that state law requires whoever sent the fliers to identify themselves. The complaint also states that because the fliers encouraged citizens to vote for specific candidates, the group or individual that paid for the fliers also should have been registered as a political committee, a designation that would have forced the disclosure of campaign finances.

The complaint has been forwarded to the state's administrative law court. Mike Williams, chief judge of the court, said such claims normally are heard and ruled upon within a month of filing.

If found guilty, the offender(s) could be fined $50 for each day that campaign finance reports were not filed after they were due.

The fliers, which began surfacing in mailboxes in early October, were one piece of what was the most expensive and contentious campaign in D-11 history. One flier urged Republicans to vote for the three candidates, luring them with the image of GOP's red, white and blue elephant. Another flier boasted congressman Joel Hefley's endorsement of the three.

The fliers included the address of El Paso County Republican Party headquarters at 710 S. Tejon St. But GOP chairwoman Terry Kunkel previously told the Independent that her office allowed candidates to use the address as a courtesy, and that she doesn't know who created the brochures.

Lathen, Albers and Perry, who were unsuccessful in their election bids, did not return calls seeking comment.

-- Michael de Yoanna


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