Hard on the heels of a guilty plea by Colorado Republican Party “Independent Expenditure Committee” (CORE IEC) director and registered agent Tyler Harber to federal campaign law violations in an FEC case, the CORE IEC itself (COGOP Chairman Ryan Call’s “Brainchild” project) entered its own “guilty plea” in a Colorado campaign finance case brought by Campaign Integrity Watchdog.
Following months of legal wrangling, highlighted (or lowlighted) by COGOP Chairman Ryan Call’s dodging a subpoena served on him at his office, “sanitizing” the CORE IEC website to remove evidence of electioneering communications and an unsuccessful effort by powerhouse law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (BHFS) attorneys to have the entire case against Call’s CORE IEC dismissed by the court, Call instructed his attorneys to throw in the towel and stipulate to four counts of violating the Colorado Constitution and state campaign finance law (“Fair Campaign Practices Act” or FCPA).
The CORE “guilty” plea, entering a stipulated judgment on 4 counts of campaign finance violations, follows a similar plea deal in the 8 cases brought against CORE donors for failing to file individually-required disclosures, due to the CORE IEC (and Ryan Call) failing to inform them of their legal obligation to do so (under Colorado’s admittedly convoluted campaign finance regulatory regime).
“CORE’s acceptance of Campaign Integrity Watchdog’s offer to enter a stipulated judgment rather than continue to battle a lost cause in court reflects Ryan’s recognition of reality: if he fights me, he loses” said Campaign Integrity Watchdog director Matt Arnold.
“Ryan will try to spin the guilty plea as ‘administrivial’ violations, because CIW is not pursuing hefty fines and penalties on these counts,” continued Matt Arnold. “He fails to ‘get it’ – it’s not about the money – it’s about integrity of the rules and the process, it’s about accountability to the law and to the voters, and it’s about arrogance. Ryan Call’s “brainchild” put Republican donors at risk, it put the state party at risk, and it failed to actually achieve anything of value – except to fill the pockets of Ryan’s buddy and crooked crony consultant chum Tyler Harber.”
Campaign Integrity Watchdog is a non-partisan organization pursuing campaign finance violators on both sides of the political aisle, successfully prosecuting more campaign finance cases than any other organization in state history. 2014 highlights include winning a nearly $10,000 judgment against an organization formed by Republican State Representative Bob Gardner, who also defended (and lost) the case in court; successfully prosecuting Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder Gilbert ‘Bo’ Ortiz on four counts of violating the same campaign finance laws he is responsible for administering at the county level, and successfully prosecuting a “triple play” of state legislators (Dave Young, Brittany Pettersen, Joe Salazar) and a now-former legislator (Mike McLachlan) for failing to properly disclose campaign contributions.