Black money group claims Attorney General Phil Weiser failed to report Hawaii fundraising contributions


Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has 10 business days from Wednesday to respond to allegations he violated campaign finance laws while fundraising in Hawaii for his re-election campaign.

Defend Colorado, a black money political group who funds conservative causes, filed the lawsuit, alleging that Weiser, a Democrat, committed the state violations during a trip to the annual meeting of the Attorney Generals Alliance June 14-18. Weiser was attending the meeting of a group that takes corporate sponsorships (including companies involved in litigation with Colorado like Juul and Purdue Pharma) in his official capacity as attorney general and chairman of the AGM, according to the complaint, and alleges he organized a June 15 fundraiser, but failed to properly report campaign contributions.

The electoral division of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday issued a ruling that Weiser will need to remedy or dispute the allegations on time or a review will be launched to decide how to proceed.

The Election Division determined that the complaint was filed on time “and allege facts which, if proven, could support a finding that the respondents violated Colorado campaign finance laws.” The division also determines as a first step that the complaint alleges one or more violations which can be cured ”, indicates the letter.

But Weiser disputed the allegations against him, saying CPR News that his campaign still demands and pays for food and space costs.

The complaint alleges that Weiser failed to report the dining fee at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea Maui Resort for its fundraising or minimum food and drink. Rather, he reported $ 437 as the food and beverage expense for the event, rather than the expense for the dining hall, which has a value of $ 6,000, and a minimum food and beverage expense of $ 39,760 more taxes and a 25% service charge, according to Defend. Colorado.

Further, the complaint alleges that Weiser agreed to and failed to disclose the “illegal gift,” which it said “likely came from the AGM as part of room and conference fees or was a contribution from the resort itself. same”.

“Colorado voters expect the attorney general to understand and respect the state’s campaign finance laws,” the complaint says. “The Weiser case is not a technical problem that can be solved. This is a flagrant violation committed by the head of state litigation. While other state attorneys general may be allowed to attend such extravagant corporate sponsored events and mix campaign events with official travel, these are clear violations of Colorado law. “

Weiser’s campaign spokesman Jacob Becklund said in a statement that they had “forwarded a Secretary of State complaint filed by a black money group. We will deal with the complaint when we have the opportunity. The campaign complies with all campaign finance laws.

Becklund said Weiser “paid for his own trip to Hawaii” and that state employees accompanying him paid for their flights.

Defending Colorado asked the secretary of state’s office, in its case, to require Weiser to disclose the source of the contribution and pay a fine. The same group filed an ethics complaint earlier this week against the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and in November, one against Gov. Jared Polis’ former chief of staff.

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