Beauprez Group ‘Colorado Pioneer Action’ Fails to Dismiss Campaign Finance Complaints Alleging Multiple Violations of State Law; Potential Penalties and Fines Could Exceed ONE MILLION DOLLARS
After months of pre-trial legal wrangling, the case against “Both-Ways Bob” Beauprez’ political action committee (by another name) ‘Colorado Pioneer Action’ (CPA) will go to trial – producing yet another win for Colorado’s premier campaign-accountability organization, Campaign Integrity Watchdog.
In a ruling released Monday, efforts by Bob’s very experienced (and expensive) attorneys to dismiss the complaint against CPA were DENIED, confirming the trial dates set for 28-29 March.
The ruling also rejected attempts by the Colorado Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, intervening on behalf of his political ally (using taxpayer dollars), to dismiss the complaint and re-write Colorado law to impose a “coordination” requirement on campaign contributions.
CIW’s Complaint alleges that Colorado Pioneer Action’s failure to register with the Secretary of State as a “political committee” violates state law requiring federal entities (CPA is registered as a 501c4 “social welfare organization” enjoying tax-exempt status) acting to “support or oppose” candidates for elective office to register and disclose campaign activity in Colorado.
Under state law, failure to provide required disclosures are penalized at $50/day per violation (with multiple violations by CPA and its subsidiary CRN alleged and documented by CIW). Accordingly, CPA faces potential penalties amounting to over ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
CIW’s Director (and non-attorney representative) Matt Arnold hailed the recent ruling as a win for accountability and transparency for voters – informing the public about who is behind the “dark-money” efforts to influence elections (in short, to buy and sell candidates for office).
“ALJ Spencer’s recent pre-trial Order which denied efforts to kill this case before trial on the merits is a tremendous win for accountability and transparency in Colorado elections. Groups like ‘Colorado Pioneer Action’ can no longer hide behind a sham “social welfare” organization to disguise campaign activity meant to influence elections and support or oppose candidates.”
As ALJ Spencer stated in his Order, CPA is not “immune from the obligation to register and disclose the source of its election-related spending” – since the core purpose of Colorado’s campaign finance laws is the concern that “large campaign contributions made to influence election outcomes allow wealthy individuals, corporations and special interest groups to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process;” and therefore, the public interest is best served by “full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions.”