We've been meaning to update Jeffco Pols readers on new campaign finance rules in Lakewood that resulted in part from a weird story that we reported on back in 2011; some of you may remember the case of City Council member Dave Wiechman, who was essentially trying to stack the Lakewood City Council with inexperienced candidates who needed his help to win (and would then owe him both financially and politically). From Our Colorado News:
The ordinance allows donations to campaigns to be capped at $2,500 per person for council candidates and $5,000 for mayoral candidates. The new rules will treat cash and in-kind donations the same — in other words, together they cannot exceed the limits…
…The issue of campaign donations became a hot button issue in the city after the 2011 mayoral and council election.
In that election Ward 4 councilman David Wiechman donated more than $20,00 — the majority of which was through in-kind donations of advertising and campaign materials — to Ward 3 candidate Pete Roybal.
Roybal won the race, but he was also fined $1,575 after Pam Feely filed a campaign finance complaint regarding a $2,000 loan that Wiechman made to Roybal. State law states that only banks can loan money to candidates.
The new campaign finance ordinance also includes a measure that we'd like to see applied to LLCs involved in any race in Colorado: any LLC that makes a political donation greater than $100 must disclose its members. As Pols readers well know, LLCs are often used as a way to fund campaigns while allowing the donors to essentially remain anonymous.