Government watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch formally asked the Secretary of State’s office for an investigation of gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis today, regarding the now-infamous voice mail message left by McInnis for an as-yet unidentified Republican where he makes reference to “my, ah…a 527.”
Says Ethics Watch Director Chantell Taylor, “This voice message reveals Mr. McInnis’ brazen attempts to skirt campaign finance laws by planning to illegally coordinate with a 527 and engaging in campaign activity without disclosing money he has raised or spent.” Release follows.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 7, 2009
COLORADO ETHICS WATCH REQUESTS FORMAL INQUIRY INTO McINNIS’ CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY
DENVER – Colorado Ethics Watch, a nonpartisan, nonprofit legal watchdog group, today called on Secretary of State Bernie Buescher to launch an immediate inquiry into whether former U.S. Congressman Scott McInnis is in violation of state campaign finance law by announcing his candidacy for governor and subsequently soliciting, receiving or expending campaign funds before registering a candidate committee. Ethics Watch also asked the secretary of state to investigate whether Mr. McInnis violated laws prohibiting coordination between a candidate and a 527 political organization.
Last week, an internet news source posted a recording of a voice message left by Mr. McInnis that could run afoul of campaign finance laws. Specifically, Mr. McInnis announced his candidacy and then solicited support for his campaign by touting the “extensive polling” he had done and the people working on his “finances” and “day-to-day operations.” According to state law, a candidate must register with the secretary of state’s office before engaging in such campaign activities. Worst still, Mr. McInnis indicated that he is working with Sean Tonner of Phaseline Strategies to handle “our… ah 527,” a flagrant violation of state and federal laws prohibiting coordination between a candidate and a 527 political organization.
According to the secretary of state’s rules, if the secretary discovers a possible violation of state campaign finance laws he shall provide notice to the person allegedly in violation and the person, within seven days of the notice, must correct the violation or explain in writing why no violation was committed. If the person does not adequately respond, the secretary can file a campaign finance complaint.
“This voice message reveals Mr. McInnis’ brazen attempts to skirt campaign finance laws by planning to illegally coordinate with a 527 and engaging in campaign activity without disclosing money he has raised or spent,” said Ethics Watch Director Chantell Taylor. “Ethics Watch is calling on Secretary Buescher to exercise his authority and demand an explanation from Mr. McInnis for these apparent violations of campaign finance laws.”
The letter to the Colorado Secretary of State and the recording of McInnis’ voice mail are both available on the Colorado Ethics Watch website at www.coloradoforethics.org.
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