Republican Party Efforts to Create “Super-PAC” Rubber-Stamped By Gessler’s Office

UPDATE: FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, Republicans are plowing ahead with "Super-PAC" plans:

“Spending by outside special interest groups and labor unions has dominated Colorado politics for far too long, leading to two liberal governors and Democrat majorities in the legislature that have ignored the needs and priorities of Coloradans,” Call told FOX31 Denver Thursday night.

“The Secretary of State’s opinion allows the Colorado Republican Party to raise the funds needed to compete on an equal playing field with these outside groups and independently support our candidates and communicate the Republican Party’s message of individual freedom and opportunity to the citizens of our state.”

In fact, the opinion of Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert is nonbinding–more akin to Pontius Pilate washing his hands. But it gives Colorado Republicans the pretext they need to ask for forgiveness instead of permission. Original post follows.

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From a press release sent out by Colorado Ethics Watch:

Denver – Today, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert denied a request by the Colorado Republican Party for a declaratory order that would allow it to establish an “independent expenditure committee” (colloquially called a “Super-PAC”) to raise unlimited and corporate money outside of the contribution limits for political parties set forth in the Colorado Constitution. The Colorado Democratic Party had asked that if the Republican Party were allowed to establish a Super-PAC, it should also be permitted to establish one.  The decision today refused to authorize political parties to operate Super-PACs, but did suggest in a non-binding opinion that current Colorado law might allow such Super-PACs. [Pols emphasis]

In the separate but related advisory opinion, Deputy Secretary Staiert opined that political parties may establish Super-PACs, although she also noted that the Republican Party’s authority to hire and fire officers of the proposed “independent” committee could raise questions.  

Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro issued the following statement: “Today, the Secretary of State’s office did the right thing, recognizing it has no authority to authorize something currently prohibited in the state Constitution.  In fact, the idea that a Super-PAC can be established by a political party and yet remain ‘independent’ is absurd. Political parties are justifiably treated differently from other groups because they enjoy privileged access to the ballot. Parties can’t have it both ways and enjoy this privileged position while at the same time pretending to operate independently of the candidates they nominate for the ballot and the party itself. [Pols emphasis] We call on both the Democratic and Republican Parties to drop any plans to establish their own Super-PACs, and conduct fundraising in compliance with Colorado law.”

The idea that a political party could create its own PAC that would allow it to raise unlimited money without reporting contributors is pretty absurd, but the request itself is particularly strange. Is the Colorado Republican Party having so much trouble raising money from multiple sources that it needs something like this? The law already contains plenty of campaign finance loopholes, in the form of 527 committees, 501(c)4 groups, etc., so this would seem to be fairly unnecessary for candidates or issue committees.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    It has to be just the nondisclosure of contributors and the "no cap on individual contributions" that made this so appealing.

    Kudos to Staiert and Toro for doing the right thing. It's hard enough to track campaign money as it is – we don't need to make it impossible.

  2. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Colorado Ethics Watch, another Soros- backed Dem party machine, claiming the Republicans should not be allowed to raise money to oppose Dem candidates.  Thanks for sharing.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      Laughable, AC…kick the watchdog for barking when the burglars come in the window. Because that's what this is about – the ability to steal elections with unlimited money.

       Fortunately, except in off- year elections (2013), the ginormous rightie dollars don't seem to be able to compete with on-the-ground activism. People tune out the lies and spin pretty quickly.

    • Ralphie says:

      They sure seem to win enough in court.

    • BlueCat says:

      You really are a bottomless well of rightie spin tropes.  Wicked Witch Nancy Pelosi. Sinister George Soros. As if progressive billionaires supporting Dems the way rightie billionaires support Rs is unspeakably evil or something.

      Don't worry though, AC. Your side has way more evil billionaires than ours, even with those unfortunate recent deaths. Daddy will be happy to check under your bed to show you there are no progressive monsters lurking and Mommy will sing you back to sleep, OK? Feeling better? 

    • dustpuppydustpuppy says:

      Pleae provide proof it is Soros backed.

      Please tell me why you are a Republican. I asked the question before. I am still awaiting for your answer, A.C. What makes you a Republican? What do you do for a living? 

  3. Republican 36 says:

    There will most certainly be a court battle over whether state law, in conjunction with the recent U.S. Supreme Court election law decisions, allows a state to prohibit super-PAC's run by a state party.

    Part of Mr. Call's plan is born out of his frustration with the kind of candidates Republicans have nominated over the past decade and the Party's almost total lack of influence over the nominating process.

    Mr. Call is attempting to steer funds to the kind of candidates who can win elections which, by definition, excludes the kind of people the party has nominated since 2004. If he is successful, the anemic influence the state party now has on the nominating process will change overnight. With money to donate to candidates, he and the executive committee will be in a much stronger position to affect who is the Republican general election candidate. If he is able to shift donations to a super PAC, any state chair will be in a much more potent position to determine which candidates are adequately funded. 

    If Mr. Call has a super-PC and he uses it to influence the nominating process, a bloody civil war will ensue, but, if he wins, there may very well be an upside for Colorado – rational Republicans populating elected offices again – what a breath of fresh air.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      R36, I'd like to believe in your scenario, I really would. But I don't see anything that would prevent Tea Party or extreme candidates from doing the same – in fact, with AFP -Colorado and the gun PACS (NRA, NAGR) – they already do spend millions on "issue committees", call themselves non profits, and get around the law that way.

      Of course, Dem and progressive issue committees do the same. And I think voters tune it out, except for the extremely energized base on the poles of issues. 

      We have to overturn the Citizens United decision. Montana did it, and then SCOTUS smacked them down.  I just think we have to keep trying. 

      • dustpuppydustpuppy says:

        Yep, money needs to be out of politics.

        Corporations are not people. Never have been, never will be. They cannot breathe. They do not have heartbeat. They do not exist except on paper.

         

         

    • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

      "..a bloody civil war will ensue." R36, you say that like it's a bad thing. This is the best thing that could happen to the GOP. If the Old Guard wins, the real Republcans will have their party back. If the Tea-partisans win, the old-fashioned Republicans will be forced to admit that this is no loner their father's GOP, and  they'll have to form a new party. Wonder what they'll call it?

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