Lawbreaking Lawmaker Dan Pabon Ordered to Return $11,000 in Illegally Mis-Reported Contributions
The Campaign Integrity Watchdog (CIW) hitting streak of prosecutorial victories stayed hot with yet another courtroom win, this time against lawbreaking lawmaker Dan Pabon (DUI-Denver). Pabon, a licensed attorney, represented himself against CIW’s non-attorney representative Matt Arnold and lost every argument at the hearing (first attempting to argue that all offenses were beyond the statute of limitations, then arguing that the Secretary of State’s regulations were not enforceable in the administrative court proceedings).
The hearing (twice delayed due to Pabon’s attempts to “make the case go away” – by first requesting, then withdrawing from, a negotiated settlement and then by attempting to contest jurisdictional issues) left no question that Pabon had violated campaign finance law disclosure requirements literally dozens of times (even taking Pabon’s testimony at face value that several reporting violations were merely duplicates of the same failure to follow the law, 57 counts – according to the administrative law judge’s summation of Pabon’s lawbreaking).
Pabon even argued that a law for which he voted this session while the complaint was pending that would provide for a “notice and cure period” to “fix” violations after a complaint is filed (unethically voting to enrich himself by reducing penalties otherwise applicable under the law) should be taken into consideration in assessing fines or even whether any violations took place (despite the clear letter of the law and relevant regulations).
Despite Pabon’s sophistry and evasive, even contradictory testimony, the court wasn’t buying; each of the illegally misreported contributions (to the tune of $11,000 total) was ordered to be returned to the contributor within 30 days, and Pabon was also fined $300 for failure to report an additional contribution as required by law.
Campaign Integrity Watchdog Director Matt Arnold stated, “Some public officials consistently seem to reject responsibility for their actions and hold themselves outside the law, apparently believing they are unaccountable to the public, and repeatedly abuse the public trust. Persons with such attitudes are unworthy of office and deserve nothing but contempt. Coloradans have every right to expect our elected officials to know, understand, and obey the laws they foist upon the rest of Colorado, in accord with their oath of office. The law must apply equally to all… accountability is key to a representative government.”
Campaign Integrity Watchdog is a non-partisan organization who has taken both legislators, candidates, and other political committees to task on both sides of the aisle. Earlier this year, CIW won a pair of blockbuster judgments (setting, then surpassing, new records for penalty amounts imposed by courts in campaign finance cases) against sham “social welfare” 501(c)4 organizations formed by two-time failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez (penalty amount: $17,735) and by ousted former Colorado Republican Party Chair Ryan Call (penalty amount: $23,147,86), respectively.