Mike McLachlan, (now-former) state representative, fined thousands for campaign finance violations

Mike McLachlan, (now-former) state representative, fined thousands for campaign finance violations

Mike McLachlan, who until his defeat at the polls last November was the “last man standing” of those targeted for removal for foisting unconstitutional and unenforceable “gun legislation” on Colorado, may “recall” this latest court-ordered slapdown for quite some time.

In a court ruling released this week, McLachlan was found guilty on 4 counts of violating state campaign finance laws (Colorado’s ‘Fair Campaign Practices Act’) and ordered to pay $2,660.00 in fines and return an illegally-retained $400.00 contribution.

McLachlan’s attorneys Heizer Paul LLP (who were, ironically, the source of the improperly reported and illegally-retained $400.00 contribution) had entered McLachlan’s guilty plea but argued for clemency in penalty assessment due to the “inadvertent” cause of errors, subsequent amendment of the reports, and the difficulty in understanding “technical definitions” of applicable law.

Although the judge did reduce the fines from the maximum possible under statutory guidelines, he wasn’t buying the argument wholecloth, finding that the error was “one which a committee for an experienced candidate should have detected… and timely resolved.”  Concluding, in the court ruling, “Complainant established violations of the Act… the ALJ imposes a total penalty of $2,660 for the founded violations and orders Respondent to return the noncompliant donation received…”

Campaign Integrity Watchdog Director Matt Arnold stated, “Justice in this case, although delayed – the guilty plea was entered and all filings complete last December – has been served.  Now-Former State Representative McLachlan has been held accountable to the law, despite his protestations of ignorance. We should expect our elected officials to know, understand, and obey the laws they foist upon the rest of Colorado.  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 sitting legislators and candidates to task on both sides of the aisle.  Last year, CIW won a nearly $10,000 judgment against an organization formed by Republican State Representative Bob Gardner, who also defended (and lost) the case in court.  CIW also forced two Democratic legislative candidates and a sitting State Senator to amend their reports or return their contributions illegally accepted from lobbyists during the legislative session.  Most recently, CIW extracted a “guilty plea” on 4 counts of violating state law from Colorado Republican Party State Chair Ryan Call on behalf of his “brainchild” the ‘Colorado Republican Party Independent Expenditure Committee’ (CORE IEC)

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