According to the Republican website Complete Colorado, GOP Gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis made a big boo-boo. While Complete Colorado may look like it was designed by your 8-year-old niece, and this is clearly an orchestrated attack on McInnis, they do appear to have the goods on a major mistake by the Republican contender:
Moments into the message, McInnis describes people who have joined the “team,” specifically mentioning Sean Tonner. McInnis also mentions that Tonner is running a “527.” The mention of Tonner being on the team and also running a 527 could be problematic. It is illegal for a candidate committee to coordinate with a 527 “issues” committee.
Futhermore, towards the middle of the message, McInnis mentions that “we’ve been out in the field, we’ve done extensive polling.” If true, McInnis might need to show what funds were used to perform said polling.
Finally, McInnis mentions that Mike Hesse is performing the “day-to-day” operations of the campaign. Again, if true, it is then unclear how or if Hesse might be receiving compensation for this work, especially since McInnis has not filed any paperwork which would allow for paid work to be done on his behalf for a gubernatorial run.
The biggest problem here is the first one – the direct acknowledgment by McInnis of a 527 committee raising money to support his campaign. Under federal law, McInnis can’t have anything to do with a 527 relating to his own campaign, and this would appear to be pretty strong proof of that.
The rest of the accusations aren’t that big of a deal. McInnis may have someone doing day-to-day operations that is not offically being paid yet, which happens all the time. And if he’s done polling, that doesn’t mean that the polling firm has billed his campaign yet; if that expense doesn’t show up on his next report, then you can raise a few eyebrows.
But on the other hand, if the 527 committee paid for the polling, then McInnis is in deep shit – because that is more proof that he is illegally coordinating with a 527 committee. No doubt there will be some sort of investigation that looks into this deeper, which will lead to more bad press and a potentially large electioneering fine.
Either way, a professional politician like McInnis should know better than this. That he would make an amateur mistake of this caliber – leaving a voicemail message acknowledging his own 527 committee – says a lot about his readiness for a statewide race.