Dems Take Aim At Kellner Over Donor’s Good Legal Fortune

Holly Kluth.

Following a story that’s been on slow-burn for some weeks now, the Colorado Democratic Party sent out a release today slamming Republican attorney general candidate John Kellner for letting Holly Kluth, a Republican candidate for Douglas County Sheriff and nearly-maxed out campaign donor to Kellner, skate after investigators recommended charges of official misconduct:

After troubling pay-to-play allegations surfaced against John Kellner, Republican candidate for Colorado Attorney General, today the Colorado Democratic Party released the following statement:

“Our elected leaders are supposed to follow the law without fear or favor, but John Kellner has tarnished that public trust. Kellner should take immediate steps to restore public confidence in his office and ensure Coloradans that his prosecutorial decisions are based on a person’s conduct, not their political contributions,” said Morgan Carroll, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. “Kellner should immediately return the money he took and institute safeguards that prevent even the appearance of favored treatment by campaign contributions from facing possible criminal charges. Kellner must also immediately disclose any and all other instances in which he failed to bring charges against his campaign contributors.”

The District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District, Kellner is under fire for refusing to prosecute his campaign donor, Holly Kluth, despite an independent investigation finding wrongdoing from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office. Kellner likewise refused to recuse himself from the case despite the potential appearance of a conflict of interest. Kluth had been under investigation for official misconduct in her role at the Douglas County Sheriff’s office — allegations so severe that her office requested the investigation be conducted by a neighboring jurisdiction.

The scandal has led to a call for official investigations into Kellner for violating the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers as well as for prosecutorial misconduct for failure to disclose a conflict of interest. After the alleged misconduct occurred in 2019, Kellner accepted two donations from Kluth in 2020. In October of 2021, despite being called on to bring official misconduct charges, Kellner declined to file charges against his campaign donor and has yet to answer questions as to why…

The simplest explanation why, of course, is the worst-case scenario–which is why we don’t expect questions about Kellner’s prosecutorial generosity toward his near-maximum campaign donor and Republican political ally to go away, certainly not until Kellner fully explains the timing and reasoning behind his decision to ignore the recommendation of outside investigators. Donations provide a ready quid pro quo but in this case we’re more inclined to think the political alliance between Kellner and Kluth against their common much-maligned adversary Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock is the tie that binds.

One misconduct can cover up another, but two misconducts exposed are double the trouble.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    Democrats wish they had something real on Kellner so they beat this dead horse.

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    Kellner COULD have made this go away if he could say "I allowed my long-term, non-partisan employee(s) make the decision.  Here is a summary of what (one, two, or three) employees in my office had to say about this matter, and why I agreed with the decision to not prosecute. 

    Instead, NOTHING is said.  Seems like a strange campaign tactic to me.


  3. notaskinnycook says:

    What is it about the 18th JD? This is the third ethically challenged DA in a row: Chambers, Broccoli, and now this clown. Is it something in the water out east?

    • spaceman2021 says:

      It's the fault of Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln county voters.  Arapahoe has gone for the dem candidate the last few cycles, but the R always wins because of those red counties.  That ends in 2024, when those three counties form the new 23rd, and the 18th will be Arapahoe only.  Likely pickup for the Dems and a sane prosecutor, which is important for a jurisdiction that includes much of Aurora.  I think Kellner is running for AG because he knows he can't win re-election in the 18th in 2024.  

      • JohnInDenver says:

        As a reminder, the county by county vote (bold & underscore shows win):

        John Kellner   Total Votes   287,402   Vote % 50.12%  margin 1,425 votes
        ARAPAHOE 141,013 DOUGLAS 130,067  ELBERT 14,201 LINCOLN 2,121

        Amy L. Padden  Total Votes 285,977  Vote % 49.88%
        ARAPAHOE 194,088 DOUGLAS  87,411  ELBERT   4,045  LINCOLN 433


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