Alissa Vander Veen helped get Wayne Williams elected as El Paso County clerk and recorder. Then she went to work for him. Now, rumors are swirling that Vander Veen has committed voter fraud, even as her old boss is seeking the 2014 Republican nomination for Secretary of State, a position charged with protecting Colorado's election system.
While no official source will confirm Vander Veen is being investigated for voting illegally in September's recall of former Senate President John Morse, red flags lend credence to the gossip. First, Vander Veen did vote in the recall, confirms Ryan Parsell, current spokesperson for the Clerk and Recorder's Office. Second, the clerk's office says the address on her voter registration is 712 E. Española St., Colorado Springs — even though she purchased a home in Pueblo last year. Third, there are multiple voter fraud cases currently being investigated.
Official records show that on Nov. 2, 2012, Vander Veen and her husband, Adam, took out a mortgage loan for $166,600 to purchase a home at 934 N. Durango Drive in Pueblo. The house is currently listed as her mailing address with the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder. The mortgage had an occupancy requirement that the Vander Veens live in the house as their primary residence for at least one year, unless the lender agreed to an exception in writing.
The Independent called Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, which issued the loan, and Wells Fargo, which subsequently purchased the mortgage. Neither would say if any modification had been made.
The Independent also twice stopped by the Espanola Street house. No one answered the door, though someone did park in the back and close a gate without speaking to us. The house, which didn't show any obvious signs of a recent move, is owned by Gary and Danna Bohall, who share Vander Veen's maiden name.
At the request of the clerk's office, 16 people are being investigated by the Fourth Judicial Attorney's Office for possible fraud in the recall, and another two cases have been forwarded to the Colorado Attorney General's Office. Of the 18 people being investigated, only one name has been released: The Independence Institute's Jon Caldara is being investigated by the AG's office because he lives in Boulder and made a public show of voting in the Morse recall. Caldara is a critic of a recent election law passed by Democratic legislators.
Interestingly, so is Williams, who stated in a recent press release, "With House Bill 1303 now in place there is a greater potential for voter fraud and we must meet that increased potential with heightened vigilance."
While it's not clear if Vander Veen sympathizes with those views — she didn't return emails sent to an address recommended by her employer — she is a politically active conservative. She ran two campaigns for conservative County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, as well as the aforementioned one for Williams, a Republican. Within a month of taking office in January 2011, Williams hired Vander Veen as special projects manager, a $57,500-a-year position he created. He later promoted her to chief deputy and communications manager, where she last earned $74,528 a year. In February, she accepted a marketing job with Challenger Homes, owned by 2011 mayoral candidate Brian Bahr.
It could be a while before the officials release any statements; in the meantime, the rumor continues to circle. Christy Le Lait, who ran Morse's campaign, says she's heard the buzz about Vander Veen, though she can't comment on it. So have Common Cause executive director Elena Nunez and Colorado Ethics Watch executive director Luis Toro, though both specify they've heard it "secondhand."