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Secretary of State Office investigated for official misconduct 

FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo

Campaign Integrity Watchdog, which monitors campaign finance, said in a March 23 release that Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is being investigated by a Denver grand jury for alleged violations of first degree official misconduct. The allegations assert that Williams' office illegally intervened in campaign finance cases and failed to collect a fine imposed by an administrative law judge.

That $9,650 fine was levied against Alliance for a Safe and Independent Woodmen Hills stemming from a 2014 election. Then-state Rep. Bob Gardner, now a state senator from El Paso County, and political consultant Sarah Jack were involved in Alliance, a 501(c)(4) that mailed thousands of postcards to voters. Williams formerly served as a El Paso County commissioner and as clerk and recorder.

Watchdog, run by Matt Arnold, says Alliance didn't register or file finance reports, violating the Fair Campaign Practices Act. Gardner was listed as Alliance's registered agent but has maintained he isn't liable for the fine. Although Alliance is broke, Arnold has pushed for payment.

Williams told the Independent last year he's notified the committee to pay the fine, but added, "Registered agents are not liable for any type of corporate or committee debt."

Watchdog also said Williams is being investigated for using state money to intervene in campaign finance cases on behalf of entities that violated campaign finance laws.

In a statement, Williams noted his office over the years has intervened in cases where interests of the state are an issue, including campaign finance laws. "In fact," his statement said, "the office has filed briefs supporting Arnold in two of his campaign finance cases, although Arnold claims the interventions happen only for Williams' allies."

Williams noted his office is cooperating with the prosecutor.

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