El Paso County Republicans Admit to Five Violations of Colorado Law, Settle for Reduced Penalties
Campaign Integrity Watchdog (CIW) continued a streak of prosecutorial victories with a ruling released Tuesday entering judgment against the El Paso County Republican Central Committee (EPCRCC) for five violations of state campaign finance law.
The county party’s new leadership admitted to the violations, committed under former chairman Jeff Hays, and settled with CIW in a joint stipulated judgment, for reduced penalties and avoiding the expense of a public hearing.
In a joint motion for stipulated judgment, both parties agreed that “the maximum applicable statutory penalties for the five stipulated reporting violations would equal $30,850.00 in total (calculated at $50.00 per day per violation from the date of each violation to the date of filing the Complaint). Both parties agree that the maximum applicable penalties would be unreasonable in light of EPCRCC’s acceptance of responsibility and subsequent diligence in correcting the reporting violations.
Instead of the $30,850.00 that would apply per statute, CIW responded to the new county party leadership’s request for leniency by agreeing to impose a minimal $50 per violation on agreement to correct the deficiencies and return the illegal contributions, with an additional $500 per violation suspended sentence for any violation of the order (for a total penalty paid of $250, with an additional $2500 in the event of failure to “fix” the reports and return improperly reported contributions, as required by law).
CIW’s officer, Matt Arnold, stated that, “although the many violations committed by El Paso County Republicans under Chairman Jeff Hays are serious, a settlement ensured swift and sure accountability while facilitating rapid conclusion of the complaint without delay, and avoided transferring guilt from the former to the current EPCRCC leadership. It would be unfair to force El Paso County Republicans to dig themselves out of a $30,000 hole created by the former chairman’s lack of due diligence and reckless disregard for the party’s disclosure obligations under state law.”