Mayor Coffman’s New Groove: Packing Aurora City Council

Mayor Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).

The Aurora Sentinel reports on fresh intrigue in that city’s politics under Mayor Mike Coffman, the former Republican Congressman plotting his next political moves–and getting help from old friends to help…well, old friends:

Mayor Mike Coffman has filed a lawsuit against Aurora and the city clerk, aiming to reverse recently enacted campaign finance rules…

“That new law prohibits Mayor Coffman (and others like him) from doing anything effective to campaign for another candidate or in support of a ballot issue. In essence, it unconstitutionally restricts the rights to free speech and association for both candidates in the current election cycle and others who could potentially run in some future election,” the lawsuit says of the rules.

The nine-page complaint was penned on Coffman’s behalf by attorney Dan Burrows, who is affiliated with the Lakewood-based Public Trust Institute, a conservative non-profit group “created to uphold our state’s constitution and defend the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility on which Colorado was founded,” according to the group’s website. The suit was filed in Arapahoe County District Court shortly before 10 a.m. March 17, a clerk confirmed.

In short, Mayor Mike Coffman is pre-emptively filing suit against the city’s new campaign finance regulations with the help of the right-wing Public Trust Institute, the “ethics group” formed by former Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty to wage politically expedient legal campaigns against Democrats. The city of Aurora’s newest campaign finance regulations reportedly disallow candidates from fundraising for each other. And that’s a big problem for Mayor Mike, because:

Coffman says in the lawsuit that he already supports a candidate in the 2021 city council race and wants to help funnel money into the person’s campaign.

He told the Sentinel that candidate is Dustin Zvonek. He’s a candidate for an at-large seat who was Coffman’s spokesperson and aide when he represented the 6th Congressional district in Congress. [Pols emphasis]

You read that right! Coffman is looking to help elect his own former congressional aide and campaign manager, Dustin Zvonek, to the Aurora City Council. Obviously, a councilmember Mayor Coffman is accustomed to giving orders to would be great for Coffman’s problems getting the city council to do his bidding! The best analogy we can think of is Josef Stalin demanding the Ukrainian and Belorussian SSRs get seats in the United Nations in 1946 as if they were separate countries, which they most assuredly were not at the time.

There’s nothing illegal about a known partisan political legal hit squad filing suit on Coffman’s behalf, or even in Coffman trying to install a subordinate employee on the City Council. We’ll have to see what the court says about the merits of Coffman’s case, though the irony of the GOP’s “ethics in government group” suing on the side of “dark money” and pro-crony collusion makes for a messy political situation to say the least. However the court case works out, too much press about Coffman pushing his waterboy for city council might make the question academic for Aurora’s voters.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    To be fair: "Coffman’s spokesperson and aide when he represented the 6th Congressional district in Congress" is likely several steps up in the hierarchy from waterboy.  I'm not all THAT familiar with football squad career paths, but someone assigned to talk independently to media members (even if there are pre-determined talking points) is probably at least a position coach on a pro team or a squad coordinator on the college level.

    I do hope someone asks Dustin Zvonek about the national and state Republican parties' opinion that the November 2020 election was stolen, and whether the Aurora election, using the same technology and people, ought to be trusted.

  2. Voyageur says:

    Oh My God!  A political leader tries to help someone whose ability and judgment he trusts win an elective office!  The horror.  The horror!

    Is the Daily Coffman bashing file running low, Pols?

    Surely, Joe Biden would never have stooped to helping elect two Democrats from Georgia to the Senate.  Cuz, you know, that would be like Stalin.



    • JeffcoBlue says:

      His former aide though? I agree it's not illegal but it doesn't look great, esp. since they passed a law that says Coffman can't help Zvonek.

      The Stalin crack made me laugh too sorry. Repubs use Stalin on us for laughs!

  3. kwtree says:

    Remember Coffman only won by ~ 215 votes. Let’s block him from further consolidating his power base. 

  4. CDW says:

    Whatever else he gets from this, he's getting plenty of ink and maybe airtime for his toady and himself at the city of Aurora's expense.   Republicans have built their dominance at the state level by starting small so concerned citizens need to pay attention. 

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Republicans have built their dominance at the state level? 

      I've only lived in Colorado for 27 years, but I'm pretty certain "Republican Dominance" and "Colorado" don't belong in the same simple sentence. 

      The chance of the current or near-term Republican leadership in this state building some sort of dominance seems to be a long shot.  There seem to be tensions among portions of the party — the long-term coalition which worked in the early 1990s seems nearly abandoned. 

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