News

Colorado secretary of state’s office says no record found of Russians, companies named in Mueller indictment

Author: Ernest Luning - February 21, 2018 - Updated: February 22, 2018

wayne-williams-1024x557.jpg
Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, joins lawmakers at the Capitol on April 21 to make the case for a bill that would reintroduce presidential primary elections to Colorado. (Photo by John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams (file). (Photo by John Tomasic/Colorado Politics)

The Colorado secretary of state’s office said Tuesday that the 13 Russians and three companies indicted Friday for interfering in the 2016 presidential election don’t appear to have operated in the state, at least according to public records.

“The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has reviewed the indictment about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and found no activity with any of the businesses or charities it has on file,” a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in a release.

Officials compared names in a state database that keeps track of businesses and charities in Colorado with those named in a federal indictment brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Williams spokeswoman said, and “[t]here was no record of the named businesses.”

The secretary of state’s office did find two names in its database that were the same as two Russian nationals indicted by Mueller, the spokeswoman said, “but these names appear to be common Russian names. In addition, the filings were done years before there was concern about Russian meddling in American elections.”

The lengthy indictment said two Russians — Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva and Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova — visited nine states, including Colorado, in June 2014 to “gather intelligence” ahead of the election but didn’t specify what they did during their travels.

The charging documents didn’t allege any other activities took place in Colorado, but they depicted a sophisticated “information warfare” campaign using social media and other methods to ramp up division along racial, religious and political fault lines. The eventual aim of the scheme, federal prosecutors allege, was to help then-candidate Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Clinton won Colorado’s nine electoral votes by about 5 percentage points.

In a statement, Williams pointed out that the indictment doesn’t say anything about attempts to interfere with voting systems.

“What is not in the indictment is any mention that Colorado’s voter registration system or voting and tabulation machines were compromised in any way,” Williams said.

Federal officials informed Williams last fall that Colorado was one of 21 states targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election, but election officials say there is no evidence the hackers actually got into the state’s electronic voter data system.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.