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Lefty scribe flags Republican Stapleton on wife’s pay

Author: Joey Bunch - July 13, 2018 - Updated: July 14, 2018

Walker StapletonRepublican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton speaks at a GOP Unity Tour stop in Lakewood on June 28. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

When left is right, they’re right.

Case in point: Jason Salzman of the left-leaning Colorado Times Recorder, who checked the records and caught a mistake missed by Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton.

Salzman parsed Stapleton’s financial disclosure paperwork required to be a candidate. Salzman then compared that with the tax report of the Harmes C. Fishback Foundation Trust, the Stapleton family’s $1.4 million charitable foundation, where Walker’s wife, Jenna, is the executive director.

She’s earned $30,000 a year since 2011, Salzman reported on June 6.

Salzman filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office, which bounced the complaint to the district attorney’s office for jurisdiction over that part of the law.

But the point was quickly moot. Stapleton’s camp wouldn’t confirm, deny or return a call to Salzman. Instead, on June 22, the day after he filed his complaint, Stapleton filed a corrected report to include his wife’s salary.

Stapleton took advantage of a caveat in the law that allows candidates to fix an error within 30 days of becoming aware of it.

“When this was pointed out to us, our campaign updated the necessary paperwork within the rules,” Stapleton campaign manager Michael Fortney told Colorado Politics Thursday.

Stapleton’s camp contend in the law applies to “willful” violations, and this one wasn’t. They didn’t respond to Salzman, because they deem him to be a liberal operative, who ultimately filed a legal complaint against the campaign.

Salzman hasn’t yet written on Stapleton’s camp acknowledging and responding to his find, but he’s relishing the moment of building on the left’s narrative about Stapleton’s fitness to be the state’s next chief administrator.

“I mean, on one hand it’s just a clerical oversight,” Salzman said in an email Thursday. “On the other, it’s violation of the rules set forth in Colorado law. Does this portend a lack of attention to detail as governor? Yeah, that’s a partisan question, but it’s legit.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.