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October 23, 2007 07:06 PM UTC

Campaign Finance 101

  • by: Colorado Pols

Every election cycle sees campaign finance complaints on both sides of the political aisle, but seldom do you see a complaint for something this obvious.

Nick Kliebenstein is a Republican running in HD-33 (Broomfield) to unseat Democrat Dianne Primavera. His website says that he is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, but while he may be a swell investor, he apparently doesn’t understand the basics of campaign finance law. According to the group Colorado Ethics Watch, Kliebenstein last week accepted three separate contributions of $800 – twice the legal limit.

The full press release from Colorado Ethics Watch is below.

Today, Colorado Ethics Watch (Ethics Watch) filed a campaign finance complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office against Nick Kliebenstein’s campaign committee for accepting three separate contributions that exceed contribution limits for state house candidates. 

According to state law, candidate committees for the state house can accept a maximum of $400 per donor for each election cycle.  The penalty for accepting contributions in excess of the limit is equal to at least double, and up to five times the amount unlawfully contributed.

Kliebenstein’s campaign finance disclosures filed last week show that his committee accepted three separate contributions of $800, twice the $400 amount allowed. Therefore, Kliebenstein’s campaign could face a penalty up to $6000.

“Coloradans adopted strict campaign contribution limits to prevent donors from unduly influencing the electoral process,” said Chantell Taylor, director of Ethics Watch. “Kliebenstein should receive the maximum penalty for accepting not just one, but three separate contributions that greatly exceed the allowable amount.”


23 thoughts on “Campaign Finance 101

  1. But, there are rules that allow $800 contributions, if the recipient has agreed to campaign spending limits and their opponent has not.

    This is the case in HD6 where Lois Court is able to accept $800 checks.

    Ethics Watch seems to know the rules and penalties pretty well, so I assume that in this case Kliebenstein is in noncompliance.

    1. Kliebenstein hasn’t agreed to the spending limits, so that provision doesn’t apply. The Kliebenstein campaign is claiming that the report of three $800 contributions was the result of a “glitch” in the Secretary of State’s electronic filing system. The three people in question — a construction company owner and a couple of oil company officers — only contributed $400 apiece. The rest of the money came from their wives, or so the campaign says.

      Newspaper account here:


      1. and also note that it is quite unlikely that the candidate did the coding personally. 

        Indeed, one of the side effects of mandatory electronic filing is that it is now much harder for a candidate to review and catch mistakes made by campaign treasurers.  Before, the treasurer could run a paper copy by the candidate before the filing was made and often did.  Now, the candidate usually either hovers over the person making the actually data entry as it is done, or trusts the underling with no meaningful review. 

  2. Call it an educated guess, but if he’s working for Edward Jones he’s probably not so much an investor as a salesman (i.e. “relationship marketing”) desperate to jam unnecessary insurance products and loaded mutual funds on unsuspecting clientele.  Politics is just a natural progression for these type of people.

  3.   Last cycle as I recall Primavera’s Repug opponent (lost his name for the moment) was the one who took a $20,000 “prize” for getting a hole-in-one at a golf meet sponsored by Colo Oil & Gas Assoc–it turned out to be a costly windfall.

  4. I’m glad someone got on this early… I wouldn’t want Mr. “Right Wing” anywhere near policy decision making.

    Primavera has a great record and has really proven herself in the legislator.

    Broomfield folks are smart enough to stay far-far-away from the likes of Nicky. To be honest, I think this is just the beginning of his troubles 🙂

    1. You might be giving us Broomfielders too much credit, pw. In 2006, Primavera was running against Bill Berens, whose major accomplishments consisted of: (1) sitting on his doughy, lily-white backside for two years; (2) grossly overstating his House record in print and TV ads; and (3) just days before the election publicly threatening to press criminal charges against some college student for statements of opinion contained in a letter to the editor of the Broomfield Enterprise.

      Despite all that, Berens still won Broomfield. It was the outlying areas of HD33 that put Primavera over the top.

      In any event, Primavera’s margin of victory in ’06 was so slim that HD33 will surely be a prime target for the Republicans in ’08 despite her record. It’s hard to believe that this Kliebenstein dude is the Anointed One, but stranger things have happened.

  5. Hey Pols, I still yearn for the days where you used to mask your political side soooo much better.

    Could it be, throwing this out there, but could it be that the SOS coded these donations under ONE individual instead of a husband and wife donation?  $400+$400=$800.  I don’t know, you tell me jokers!

  6. Just to be clear, the glitch prevented them from amending the report, not entering it in a questionable way. Still, it smelled like a rookie mistake from the beginning which they are trying to clear up.

    Anyone else look at who those donors are that are so desperate to support him that husband and wife are both giving the max?  Why the oil and gas boys. I think the other “family” gift was from a developer.  The Camera article had the details.

    De ja vu anyone?  Do you think he plays golf too?

  7. This just highlights the obvious, if you can’t keep track of your own finances then stay away from my tax dollars. Nick is bought and paid for by the oil industry and he hasn’t even made his mark in politics yet.

    This one should be easy!

    1. Was there a discovery of a large oil patch up there?  Do we need to buy Nick off so that we can start drilling next to Flatiron crossing?  Why is he “bought and paid for” by your oil villians??  Drive by hackster.

      This one won’t be as easy as you think.

      1. He is running for a position that makes state-wide decisions on matters such as??: resources 😉

        -Nothing against the oil industry, but this looks sketchy… I’m wondering when they will try to contribute through their kids… Only a matter of time…and Nicks right-wing ways will lose the day.

        1. “Right wing ways”??

          Could you please enlighhten me on anything that he has said or done thus far that would suggest he is towing the “right wing” line??

          Please, if you’re going to hack at a canidate, could you please do so in a race that you know something about?  Maybe try the Presidential race, I hear that it is easier to smear someone nationally than locally.

  8. I’m sure Nick would have no problem calling himself right-wing and being proud of it.

    It’s not a smear, it means he is on the right-wing of the conservative party. He should not shy from saying so, let the voters decide if they want a representative thats very, very conservative.

    Just saying…

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