Is a Colorado District Attorney Breaking the Law?

As the chief prosecutor and enforcer of the law in Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts, the District Attorney should be held to the highest standard in complying with the laws of our state. However, the District Attorney for Colorado’s 13th Judicial District, Brittny Lewton, may have run afoul of the law as she seeks re-election to a second term.

Campaign Integrity Watchdog was tipped off to DA Lewton’s apparent noncompliance with the transparency, disclosure and reporting requirements for her campaign committee, and finding multiple apparent violations of the law, filed a campaign finance complaint on Friday.  Lewton’s campaign committee, which has reported zero contributions, zero expenditures, and zero cash-on-hand for the entire calendar year (despite purchasing and disseminating campaign materials and making multiple payments for delinquent filing penalties) is alleged to have failed to report multiple campaign contributions received and expenditures (“disbursements”) made, as required by law.

The failure to disclose the campaign’s financial activity, violating the public interest in campaign transparency, is bad enough.  However, Lewton’s campaign committee also requested (and received) multiple waivers of penalties from the Secretary of State, which are normally imposed automatically for delinquent filings, on the basis of claiming a lack of campaign financial activity – the very campaign activity not reported in the first place.

Obtaining waivers of penalty on such apparently false pretenses would seem to be…
less than candid, even unethical.

CIW’s officer, Matt Arnold, stated that “candidates for office who deliberately evade the legal disclosure requirements for campaign activity – particularly those seeking office to make or, even worse, to enforce the law – betray the public trust.  Elected officials – and those seeking to obtain or retain elected office – cannot be above the laws they impose on the rest of us.  Such “official” violators must be held accountable to the law, so that “some animals – are not more equal than others.”

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Comments

Is a Colorado District Attorney Breaking the Law? — 2 Comments

  1. I’m curious why you went after such small fry as Brittny Lewton after you landed a lunker like the Colorado Republican Central Committee with a $10K fine. She didn’t even get fined.

    • CIW “goes after” violators big and small; the quaint notion that those who enforce the law should also follow the law applies.
      Curious as to the source for your statement that “she didn’t even get fined” –
      in fact, she was fined $1,000 for failure to disclose campaign expenditures.
      The ALJ was somewhat acerbic in noting:
      “Specifically, given that the yard signs clearly amounted to express advocacy, the duty to report the expenditure to buy them should have been obvious. This fact, combined with Ms. Lewton’s history of untimely campaign finance reporting, suggests a certain amount of indifference on her part toward the Committee’s reporting obligations. A sanction of $1,000 is therefore warranted.”
      Final Agency Decision, case OS 2016-0016

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