UPDATE: Colorado Ethics Watch director Luis Toro releases a statement:
"Considering the incredible amount of resources spent in a futile attempt to prove that voter fraud exists in Colorado and is perpetrated by non-citizens, it is a shame that the Attorney General's office has elected not to prosecute Jon Caldara for his highly-public vote in the El Paso County special election while maintaining a Boulder home to which he quickly returned after the election. Nothing increases cynicism in government more than the specter of a highly-lawyered, wealthy individual getting away with something that would be treated as a crime if committed by almost anyone else.
"Those who care about election integrity can take some comfort, though. Caldara's elaborate ruse, including signing a temporary lease in an effort to create the appearance of being a Colorado Springs resident, actually showed how difficult it is to vote in a different district by claiming a new residence without running afoul of Colorado's criminal law against false statements of residency while voting. While Caldara may walk, we fully expect the Attorney General to prosecute vigorously those who foolishly followed his example without all the careful staging that enabled Caldara's lawyers to suggest the existence of reasonable doubt. In the end, Caldara proved only that there is nothing wrong with Colorado's election laws that can't be solved by a dedicated prosecutor enforcing the law as written."
As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, Jon Caldara of the conservative Independence Institute will face no criminal charges, closing a three-month investigation by the Attorney General's office into his registering to vote in the El Paso County Senate District 11 recall election despite longtime residence in Boulder:
First Attorney General Robert Shapiro concluded in a letter to Caldara that there is "arguable ambiguity within some of the new legislation," which makes same-day voter registration legal in Colorado.
But the letter also made clear that Attorney General John Suthers office doesn't condone Caldara's behavior, the "legitimacy" of his living arrangement in Colorado Springs was "suspicious" and it was questionable that he ever intended to become an El Paso County resident.
"I told you what I did was legal," Caldara said Thursday, adding "neener-neener-neener."
He said the legislature, which convenes Wednesday, must address the problem of same-day voter registration. Otherwise he predicted "a Great Voter Migration of 2014." Republicans and Democrats could "move" from safe districts into swing seats where their votes could make a difference, Caldara said.
Asked about the attorney general office's comments questioning his sincerity in moving, Caldara said, "The law is not about how they feel. The law is about my intention that they have to prove or disprove. I followed the law."
Watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch was quick to respond via Twitter:
— CO Ethics Watch (@COEthicsWatch) January 2, 2014
We haven't seen any other statements yet on the Attorney General's decision (see CEW's updated statement above), but we've already heard complaints that Republican Suthers' office is showing blatant partisan favoritism to well-known conservative troublemaker Caldara with this decision. It's tough to speculate without seeing the full letter from the AG's office, but these remarks about "suspicion" over Caldara's "intent" to relocate to Colorado Springs strike us as willfully ignorant of Caldara's stated intentions. Caldara's original press release announcing his plan to register to vote in SD-11 made it obvious he never had any intention of relocating to Colorado Springs, and was always intending to cheat the system. After the recall election, Caldara made a callous joke out of massive floods then impacting the state by using them as his excuse to "make Boulder his permanent home" after all.
As for those of you who thought Caldara, via this stunt to "legally" commit vote fraud or his excuses afterward, had finally gone too far this time? Today you have your answer.