The Lawmaker is a Lawbreaker?
Rep. Bob Gardner loses Campaign Finance Complaint to local elections integrity group, Campaign Integrity Watchdog
In a ruling released on Friday, 8 August 2014, Campaign Integrity Watchdog achieved a victory for integrity and accountability in campaigning, as a sham “social welfare organization” claiming tax exemption was held to be a political committee violating the Colorado Constitution and state statute (the Fair Campaign Practices Act, or FCPA).
The self-styled “nonprofit” group, Alliance for a Safe and Independent Woodman Hills (ASIWH), was held to have violated campaign finance law by not registering as a political committee and for failing to disclose contributions and spending as required by law in their vicious, smear campaign, character-assassinating attacks on a Republican candidate for a special district election.
State Representative Bob Gardner was the attorney (and registered agent) for ASIWH. He is term limited from his El Paso County seat in House District 20, and also serves as the El Paso County Republican Party Attorney.
“It is a good day in Colorado when the law is upheld and lawless individuals are brought to account for their actions,” said Matt Arnold, plaintiff in the case with his organization, Campaign Integrity Watchdog. “Despite repeated delay tactics, non-compliance with court orders, and personal smears, the law won out and lawbreakers have been brought to justice.”
To date, CIW has not lost a case at trial. Mr. Arnold would like to see this happen more often.
“The intent of Colorado’s campaign finance reforms, while noble, had the opposite effect. Rather than increase transparency, they often drive money underground. If no one holds these lawless apparatchiks to account, they will continue to get away with dirty pool politics. One purpose of Campaign Integrity Watchdog is to do just that—hold the lawbreakers to account, which helps clean up Colorado’s political discourse.”
ASIWH has been fined just under $10,000 for their failure to file as a political committee and failure to disclose campaign contributions and expenditures, as required by law.
Additionally, Mr. Gardner is currently under investigation for various alleged violations of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct (CRPC) regulating attorney behavior, and both Gardner and his close associate Sarah Brittain Jack are under investigation by the IRS for alleged tax fraud/tax evasion associated with the case and their organization.