Stapleton Put On Notice for Sketchy Fundraising Tactics

Walker Stapleton

Sometime in early October, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton is expected to announce that he will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018. Even though he’s not yet a candidate for the top job in the state, Stapleton is already facing legal questions about an independent expenditure committee that is raising money ostensibly on his behalf.

As Mark Matthews reports for the Denver Post:

The Democratic Governors Association is threatening to file a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State against Republican Walker Stapleton over his ties to a campaign group that is raising money to support his expected bid for governor.

The DGA said Stapleton may have run afoul of state election law by headlining an Aug. 21 fundraiser for the group, an independent expenditure committee known as Better Colorado Now, whose primary purpose is to get Stapleton elected.

Colorado prohibits its candidates from coordinating with these committees — which can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money. The DGA vowed to file a complaint with the Colorado secretary of state against Stapleton, the committee and its donors if Better Colorado Now spent any money to back his candidacy.

Stapleton is not the only 2018 hopeful who will benefit from an independent expenditure committee (IEC), but he’s the only one pushing the legal line by being involved with the fundraising efforts. Stapleton’s name appeared as a “special guest” on the invitation for the Aug. 21 fundraiser for an IEC called “Better Colorado Now,” which lists as its official purpose “to oppose Democrat candidates for Governor” but is almost certainly going to be a vehicle meant to benefit Stapleton’s gubernatorial bid.

As we wrote last month, Stapleton may be legally permitted to help raise money for the IEC so long as he isn’t an official candidate for Governor — which is a big reason why he hasn’t already formally announced his candidacy. That could change once the lawyers get involved here, but the legality of this move won’t alter the awful perception for Stapleton. As Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell told the Grand Junction Sentinel:

“Stapleton has been running for four years. He’s been doing unethical fundraising that’s basically just down and out wrong. He’s giving political speeches wherever he goes. He’s raising unlimited sums. It’s everything that’s wrong with our political discourse today.”

“Better Colorado Now” had raised about $121,000 as of June 30, and that figure has certainly grown since then. We’ll find out in a few months whether the total amount raised by this IEC is enough to override the negative news it has generated for Stapleton.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:


    Keep trying, Pols.

  2. Davie says:

    If by some chance Stapleton gets elected, I wonder if he'll use his California office to run Colorado, like he did as Treasurer?  It's just a part time job, right? — he's got the family business to attend to.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      What exactly is Stapleton's branch of the family business?

      Billy Bush is into entertainment in Hollywood.

      Jebby was into real estate in Florida.

      Neil was into banking in Colorado. [cough cough]

      And the Shrub was into oil in Texas. Although as the late Anne Richards memorably put it, "George W. Bush couldn't find oil in the automotive dept. of K-Mart."

      • mamajama55 says:

        Walker is into mining (metals, minerals) and shady finances, like cousin Neal.

        For more info, Google "Walker Stapleton" plus one or more of the following search terms:

        Calais, Gold mining, gold, Ashanti, Carlyle Strategic Partners, Winston Partners, Blackswan,  Brightline, Sonomawest, brownlie wallace armstrong bander exploration , Cerberus Capital

        All of the companies listed have contributed significant amounts to his campaigns, per the SOS site Tracer.

        He's also into driving drunk, hit and run accidents, and walking away scot free.

      • Davie says:

        His skimpy resume and sheltered career in the family business came up when first running for Treasurer:

        Stapleton Moonlighting Shows Need for More Disclosure

        While Stapleton argued in favor of transparency in Washington, DC, he has been resisting it here in Colorado, refusing to disclose how much time he is spending on his second job as a consultant for SonomaWest Holdings, Inc., where he was president before being elected last November. Now that Stapleton’s family is in the process of buying the outstanding shares of SonomaWest so the company can “go private” and avoid federal reporting requirements, Coloradans will soon be deprived of the main source of information about their treasurer’s outside work.

        What we do know about Stapleton’s outside work is primarily based on disclosures filed by SonomaWest with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Under the consulting agreement, Stapleton is to be paid $250 per hour up to $150,000 per year, well more than what he makes as state treasurer.

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