Election Edition 2/24/15

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City Clerk Sarah Johnson: No campaign finance violations. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • City Clerk Sarah Johnson: No campaign finance violations.
City Clerk Sarah Johnson has ruled that it was OK for Colorado Springs Government Watch to give money from its "general treasury" to its own issue committee, which in turn gave the money to the recall committee, without disclosing where the money came from. The ruling came in response to two complaints filed by Douglas Bruce.

Government Watch gave the recall group $14,122 to pay for out-of-state signature gatherers in the effort to recall City Councilor Helen Collins.

She also determined another complaint, also filed by Bruce, wasn't valid.

Johnson also released this statement:
As the City Clerk, I have an obligation to review all campaign finance filings for facial compliance with the City of Colorado Springs campaign finance disclosure requirements, as adopted, and to review all complaints that are filed. I have reviewed Mr. Bruce’s complaints, compared his statements against the requirements in our campaign finance law and have determined that there was no violation of the City’s campaign finance code.
Of course, as you can imagine, Bruce is furious. 

"They got the money from themselves," Bruce says referring to Springs Government Watch. "The question is, who gave the money to the committee so it could write a check? That's like saying there's no reporting requirement."

Government Watch has never disclosed who's behind the organization and claimed it stands for transparency and accountability.

Bruce says Johnson's rulings mean "she should not be our city election officer; that's the politest way I can put it." He also notes Johnson previously told him, upon questioning, that there was no process for protesting recall signatures, but, in fact, a protest has now been filed by Robert Blancken, and a hearing set for March 2 before Municipal Judge Hayden Kane.

Asked what course of action is open to him on the overruled complaints, Bruce says he could appeal to district court but isn't confident a judge would be willing to rule in opposition to the city, which has prevailed most of the time in cases involving Bruce. "It's utterly corrupt," he says.

Here are Johnson's rulings:

See related PDF ClerkRulingOnCSGWComplaint_15-001_Response.pdf
See related PDF ClerkRulingOnHendrixComplaint_15-003_Response.pdf See related PDF ClerkRulingOnSuthersComplaint_15-002_Response.pdf
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Campaign events

Mayoral and City Council candidates have several events coming up, among them:

Westside Neighborhood Association Forum: 7 p.m. tonight, Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St.

NAACP Forum: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Southeast & Armed Services YMCA, 2190 Jet Wing Dr.

Campaign Open House for John Suthers: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, campaign office, 214 N. Tejon St.

Mary Lou Makepeace campaign event: 2 p.m. Saturday, Blue Star, 1645 S. Tejon.

Women for Makepeace Luncheon: 11:30 a.m., March 2, Antlers Hilton.

El Pomar Candidate Forum: 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at The Broadmoor, 1 Lake Ave.

Connect! Colorado Springs Forum: 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5, Springs Orleans, 23 E. Pikes Peak Ave.

Mid Palmer Park Boulevard Neighborhood Association Forum: 9:30 a.m. March 7, Northeast Bible Church, 1722 McArthur Ave.

Council of Neighbors and Organizations: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 11, Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave.

UCCS/Gazette Debate: 6 to 7 p.m. March 19, UCCS.

Meet and Greet with Amy Lathen: 6 to 8 p.m. March 23, Cordera Community Center, 11894 Grand Lawn Circle.

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