(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Southern Colorado's little spat over a few gun buying restrictions has gone national and international. Very heavy hitters in the media and public life are weighing in. And, naturally enough, what started out as a modest change which would have brought revenue into state coffers (via the $10 buyer-paid background check fees) has burgeoned into an epic proxy fight, with hundreds of thousands of dollars now flowing in to political coffers on both sides of the issue.
Meanwhile, in Pueblo, we are faced with skyrocketing costs from this recall election. What started out as a mail ballot election costing $180,000 has now been forced by the Libertarian lawsuit into a polling place election with unused mail ballots, polling place staffing, and other costs bringing it into the $250,000 range. Secretary of State Gessler has refused to pay any costs up front. In Pueblo, the Motor Vehicle Department will be closed for motor vehicle business on September 5, 6, 9, and 10. MVD employees will staff the department as a polling place on those days, according to County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz. After the recall election, Pueblo County will petition the Joint Budget Committee to reimburse the recall election costs. These are some of the costs citizens in Pueblo will bear as a result of the recall election.
What about the rest of the money flowing into the coffers of political organizations in Pueblo and Colorado Springs? Where is it coming from, and where is it going?
I'm fascinated by campaign finance. If you are less than fascinated, feel free to skip to the end of this post. Pueblo United for Angela committee had $34K on hand at the end of July. Most of it came from small donors, and there were several large contributions from Democratic and liberal 527 groups. The main pro-recall group, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, (PFR) had $10K at the end of June. They don't have to file again until August 27. They are raising from small local donors. The GEORGE RIVERA FOR SENATE – RECALL committee has about $7000 on hand, all raised from small donors. He also has an optimistic senate campaign fund. Richard Anglund has no finance info on file.
Who's paying for the recall in El Paso County?
El Paso County has the same dilemma as Pueblo County. They have an unplanned-for expensive polling place recall election on their hands. El Paso's recall election is slated to cost $150,000, less than Pueblo's $230,000 or so. They're not happy about paying for it, either. El Paso County does not offer as many polling places, (7) nor does it attempt to accommodate working people to the extent that Pueblo County does with its 10 polling places and extended hours. In general, the fewer people can vote, and the more inconvenient voting is made, the less likely it is that Democrats will do well.
AFP Colorado has a "John Morse Truth team" , and according to the website, they are calling and canvassing in the Springs, as well as putting out sensational flyers against Morse. They claim to have knocked 3500 doors and made 5000 phone calls as of August 8. John Morse's anti-recall committee, "A Whole Lot of People for John Morse," had about $33K at the beginning of July, mostly in smaller donations.
El Paso Freedom Defense Committee had $64K as of July They spent most of that on contracted petition gatherers (Kennedy Enterprises). (they received a non-itemized $10K donation from Basic Freedom Defense Fund, on June 10. Their next financial report is due August 27. "I am Created Equal" and "IACE"seems to no longer be bankrolling the group. However, the group's founder, Laura Carno, is apparently bankrolling a blitz of anti-Morse ads.
"Free Colorado"(FC) is running sleazy distorted anti-Morse ads in the Springs. FC is a "charitable social welfare organization" which just happened to get $150,000 in July, and is headed by the same person (Katie Kennedy) and has the same Lodo address as the Senate Majority Fund, a Republican campaign committee. This may be a violation of campaign finance laws, and I hope that someone with more legal expertise than I have looks into it.
I haven't been able to trace contribution transactions for Basic Freedom Defense Fund (BFDF). Jennifer Kerns is listed as a spokesperson for the BFDF. BFDF reportedly is a group funded by the Koch brother's "Americans for Prosperity" PAC, but since the Citizens United decision, these connections are hard to trace.
If you live in Pueblo district 3, you are likely to hear my dulcet tones, or those of dozens of volunteers like me, asking you to vote "No" on the recall, and telling you where your closest voting locations are.
You probably will have a paid or volunteer canvasser knocking at your door, leaving literature, with the same message. You might even be visited or called by a pro-recall canvasser. If you watch TV, particularly KOAA, and Fox news, you're going to see political ads, some of which will distort the truth, to put it charitably.
Certainly, you will be heartily tired of the ads and the mailers and the calls and the knocks by September 10. The good news is, as soon as you actually vote, the calls and knocks will stop. So vote as soon as possible, when the polls open September 5, and do your part to relegate recalls to a failed experiment in Colorado voting history.