Campaign financeNews

Secretary of state dismisses campaign finance complaint against regent candidate Smith

Author: Marianne Goodland - August 10, 2018 - Updated: August 23, 2018

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Smith complaintLesley Smith, courtesy of her campaign.

The secretary of state announced Friday that its elections office has dismissed a Republican-mounted campaign finance complaint against Lesley Smith, a Democrat running for an at-large seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

The complaint was dismissed because Smith has fixed the issues that led to its filing, according to a decision posted on the Secretary of State’s website Thursday.

The Colorado Republican Party filed the complaint on July 2, alleging that Smith’s campaign committee had failed to list the employers and occupations of 50 contributors and that the campaign had accepted an $800 in-kind contribution from its filing agent that exceeds the state campaign finance contribution limit of $400.

A state law passed in 2017 allows candidates to “cure” errors in their campaign finance reports, once notified of those errors through a campaign finance complaint. Smith told Colorado Politics that the information on the in-kind contribution was corrected on July 3. The campaign notified the secretary of state on July 13 that they would fix the rest of the errors.

In the final agency decision, Melissa Polk of the elections division wrote that the campaign did not intend to mislead the electorate through a lack of transparency on its donors.

“Because much of the missing information provided minimal additional transparency, and because Respondent (Smith) quickly and fully cured the report,” the purpose of the campaign finance law, which is to provide transparency on donors, was achieved despite the initial noncompliance, according to the decision.

Many of Smith’s donors who were not initially identified with employer and occupation information are fairly well known in political circles. They include former state Sen. Rollie Heath, former U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Tim Wirth, House Majority Leader KC Becker of Boulder, former Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, former House Majority Leader Alice Madden; Lesley Dahlkemper of Jefferson County, who’s running for the county commission; and Angelika Schroeder and Jane Goff, both members of the state board of education.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.