Dispute in Council District 5 race over false campaign claims


Colorado Springs City Councilor Jill Gaebler has reported her opponent's false statements in campaign materials to the District Attorney's Office, though she hasn't taken the next step in filing a complaint.

The mailer in question says that Gaebler, who represents the city's central District 5, voted as a member of the Colorado Municipal League board to oppose a State House bill that would have made local officials liable for harm caused to a citizen by an undocumented person if those officials had acted to declare a city or county as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, failed.

But Lynette Crow-Iverson's campaign issued a mailer trying to link Gaebler to the CML vote, saying she voted to oppose the bill.
Crow-Iverson: Might have been mistaken. - COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Courtesy of the candidate
  • Crow-Iverson: Might have been mistaken.
In fact, Gaebler wasn't at the CML meeting where a vote took place.

A state law prohibits campaigns from making false or reckless statements against political candidates or about ballot measures. It's a Class 1 misdemeanor to do so. It's a Class 2 misdemeanor to do so unintentionally.

We asked Crow-Iverson's campaign manager Sarah Jack about this last week. She responded via email, saying, "If you read the email ... from CML to Rep. Williams she said that yes the Vote was unanimous in opposition. Since she [Gaebler] is a member of that committee and the vote was unanimous she would have had to cast a vote right? or the vote would have been recorded and included her absence."

Turns out, well, no, that's not right.

So we asked Jack about it again today. Her email response:
Your continued threat of a Blog is so tiresome ...

We relied on a report from the CML ... from Megan Dollar at CML to be exact that this was a unanimous vote by the Executive Board. They also testified in Committee on this Bill that the Board had voted unanimously. In no documentation that was available to us or Rep. Williams was it indicated that there was one absence. We have the email trail between Rep. Williams and CML's Ms. Dollar. The fact that they came out later and said it was an unfortunate mistake is a little too little ... too late.
Gaebler: "I wasn't even at the meeting." - COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Courtesy of the candidate
  • Gaebler: "I wasn't even at the meeting."

Nevertheless, Jack accuses Gaebler of intending to join the CML board majority, although she adds, "I do acknowledge this is second hand information."

Gaebler says she's talked to the DA's office about the incorrect mailer but hasn't decided whether to file a complaint. Meantime, she calls the mailer a "desperate" move by her opponent.

The mailer was labeled as being from Crow-Iverson's campaign, not a separate campaign committee. (The return logo for the mailer piece, at right, means the candidate is responsible, as compared to a 527 group, which operates without coordinating with a candidate's campaign.)

In related news, Colorado Citizens Protecting Our Constitution, a dark money organization we wrote about in this blog, sent out a release calling for Gaebler to renounce an endorsement by the Sierra Club, which CCPOC says "costs taxpayers money and threatens jobs" by demanding immediate closure of the downtown Drake Power Plant, entangling the city in lawsuits, insisting Pikes Peak Highway harmed the environment (actually, the contention was the dirt and gravel that constantly sloughed off into woodlands and streams harmed fish and wildlife) and that the group wants local residents to pay "for expensive new solar, wind" and other renewable energy.

Gaebler's comeback: "Interesting how she only mentions me and not the other candidates who have received the Sierra Club’s endorsement. This is the epitome of fake news."

Crow-Iverson is the chosen candidate of a prominent group of developers and business people, including the business political activism group Colorado Springs Forward, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, the Gazette, El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller, and CCPOC donors who remain unnamed.

Gaebler has gained backing from the firefighters, Together for Colorado Springs (a progressive activism group in which Independent Chairman of the Board John Weiss is involved), the Independent, former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, former Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin, and former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg, among others.

If you have an item of interest about the city election, please send it my way to zubeck@csindy.com

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