SoS-Elect Gessler Linked with Campaign Violations?

The Colorado Independent is reporting:

“With respect to me being ‘linked’ to 527’s, you may be aware that I am an attorney,” Gessler added. “As such, I represent clients. Some of my clients are occasionally accused of violating Colorado’s reporting requirements. I represent them in those matters. Ergo, a ‘link'”

America’s justice system is adversarial, each side gets representation to make their case.  We all deserve competent counsel.  But the use of the term ‘occasionally’ is interesting.  It does happen on occasion–roughly every two years when there is an election–which is to say ‘regularly’ and ‘repeatedly.’

State Sen. Gail Schwartz and a campaign watchdog group are weighing a formal complaint against a 527 political group linked to Secretary of State-elect Scott Gessler, alleging the group failed to properly disclose a mailer deemed the “most tasteless” of this month’s election.

A campaign mailer targeting state Sen. Gail Schwartz sent out by Western Tradition Partnership in early October.

Schwartz, a Democrat, said late last week she still hasn’t determined whether to file a formal complaint with current Secretary of State Bernie Buescher’s office regarding the mailers sent out by Western Tradition Partnership (WTP) depicting her as Donald Trump. But she said she will pursue tougher disclosure laws in the next legislative session.

In spite of the constant bombardment or mailers in SD 5–about 3:1 attacking Schwartz by my own informal count–Gail won re-election.

The salient point, however, is the sleaze merchants who have a common counsel and their on-going, consistent, regular and repeated use of questionable and–in some cases–illegal tactics.  

The Western Tradition Partnership Education Fund was registered on Oct. 13 by Mario Daniel Nicolais II of the Hackstaff Gessler law firm in Denver. No electioneering communication report in Schwartz’s successful state Senate bid was filed, and the group lists no contributions or expenditures during that time period.

Western Tradition Partnership sent out the mailers, with Schwartz’s face on Donald Trumps body and the tagline “You’re Fired!” in late September or early October, and then commented on her reaction on their website on Oct. 4. By Colorado law, anyone spending more than $1,000 to do any electioneering communication within 60 days of a general election must report it to the secretary of state’s office.

Buescher spokesman Rich Coolidge confirmed no such report comes up under Schwartz’s name, which also is required.

WTP’s original operative–Scott Shires–has also been a ‘client’ of our new Secretary of State–an office responsible for the impartial and nonpartisan execution of our election laws.  Shires still owes thousands in fines to Colorado taxpayers for the laws he broke in 2008.  

Mr. Gessler’s new job is to represent all Coloradans fairly.  Far from representing the occasional election scofflaw, the SoS-Elect’s firm in actuality seems to be the ‘go to’ shop for GOP operatives in violation of this sacred trust.  

Everyone deserves competent counsel–and that includes the State of Colorado and its citizens.  

Perhaps Mr. Gessler’s first job should be getting his  clients election lawbreakers to pay the fines they owe taxpayers.    

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17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. 20th Maine says:

    Yawwnnn…  A lot of fluff here and none of it has to do with personally with Gessler.  Unless you want to go down the path of making attorney’s guilty by association with their clients.  I don’t suppose Dems would fare well taking that position.

    If you want to bitch about campaign finance, I’m all for it.  The application of the law is a farce because the law itself is a farce.  And so far, has only served to make campaign financing even more opaque than it had been before reform took place.

  2. Interlocken Loop says:

    A great story that will derail the Gesller Campaign and bring victory to Bernie Buescher.

    Oops my bad the election is already over!

  3. Roger D says:

    in fines that have accumulated over the last 3 years by Gessler’s client for actions Gessler himself was responsible for?

  4. Mark G. says:

    Error.  Finance violations are not owed to the taxpayer. The fines are owed to the Secretary of State. These fines will never make it to the taxpayer; the taxpayer will not recognize a reduction in tax rates. The Secretary of State is the sole beneficiary and any and all fines. The fines will be used to increase working conditions and salary packages.

    • Ralphie says:

      the SoS returned money to the general fund.

      • redstateblues says:

        If they don’t pay the fines, they’re breaking the law. I wonder if Secretary-elect Gessler is planning on following through to make sure his clients/527 smear campaigns pay the money they owe if they don’t pay by the time January rolls around.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      The SOS budget is set by the legislature.  It raises much more in fees than it spends.  But fees go to the state, the JBC appropriates the SOS budget, and it’s two separate processes.  So as Ralphie correctly notes, extra fees do increase the net gain to the state Treasury.  And no, fines cannot be used to hire unauthorized personnel, or raise salaries.

      • Mark G. says:

        If the SOS is charging fees that are in excess of cost of service, they are adding an illegal tax. They are also taking money from tax payers and redistributing it to other tax payers.

        I have a simple idea, lower fees and penalties.

        • ClubTwitty says:

          Gessler’s ‘client’ broke the law–Gessler’s new job, now working for the ‘public trust,’ is to help bring such scofflaws to justice.  

        • redstateblues says:

          So campaigns and shadow campaigns would have even more excuse not to follow campaign finance laws. Makes perfect sense.

          And I’ve heard of the conservative viewpoint that considers all government fees an illegal tax, but saying that penalties and fees for people who break the law in their campaigns are illegal is really setting a new low. Congrats.

        • Pam Bennett says:

          FYI, the election is over. Anti-government, anti-American amendments of Doug Bruce failed, and failed magnificently. Trying to create a world where paying for something is a tax is rather silly(do you include tips at the restaurants as a tax?). Coloradoans realize that government is necessary, the Bruce Andrews tribal life is not what we want.

          Go on vacation for a couple of years. Don’t burn out this early when you have a lot of time to build up talking points of little or no value.

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          The fees are set by law, by the legislature.  Your simple idea is one that should be taken to the legislature.  Good luck with that. SOS is not Starbucks and doesn’t set fees at its own whim.

    • sxp151 says:

      to violate election law so that it would have to pay fines to the Secretary of State, then ran for Secretary of State in order to collect those fines, thus obtaining for himself a campaign contribution that would otherwise be illegal?

      FUCKING BRILLIANT. All those people who said Scott Gessler was too stupid to cook toast now have to eat their words.

  5. Mark G. says:

    I doubt Caldara had much if anything to do with this publication, as he is busy making a name for himself and mumbling unsuspecting drivers and other listeners of talk radio to sleep. Never the less, this is a must read. http://tax.i2i.org/files/2010/

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