Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NRA join the Colorado recall fray

By Megan Schrader Updated: August 28, 2013 at 9:35 am 0

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo recall elections of Democratic senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

Bloomberg personally donated $350,000 to a pass-through committee established less than a month ago to fund the defense campaigns of Morse and Giron.

The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action has spent $108,667, through its own front committee to unseat the two senators who supported gun-control measures last session.

Campaign reports for the last few months began hitting the Secretary of State's website Tuesday afternoon, giving a glimpse of who has been pouring money into the upcoming Sept. 10 recall election.

Voters in Colorado Springs and Pueblo who will decide whether to keep their senators in office are being bombarded with mailers, door knockers, and TV, radio and print ads.

It's long been rumored the NRA, which opposes almost every type of gun control, and Bloomberg, who formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns, would enter the election fray on opposite sides, bringing big dollars with them.

There are at least eight registered issue committees spending money on the recall and two candidate committees are trying to get Republicans elected in the event the incumbents are ousted.

All of those groups were expected to file reports sometime Tuesday.

Libertarian hopeful candidate Jan Brooks had her hopes of being a replacement candidate on the ballot dashed when she failed to turn in enough valid signatures.

Brooks needed 575 signatures from registered voters in Senate District 11 and the Secretary of State's Office said of the 834 turned in only 408 were valid.

Liz Oldach, chair of the Libertarian Party of El Paso County, said the count is likely to be challenged.

"The rejection rate, in our opinion, is an excessive amount and likely to be challenged," she wrote in a prepared statement.

The Libertarian Party had sued for and won a longer time-frame to turn in valid signatures for candidates to appear on the ballot. A Denver District Court ruling delayed printing ballots, making mail ballots nearly impossible for the recall election.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

A Whole Lot of People for John Morse reported receiving $635,601 in cash and in-kind contributions since June 30.

It reported spending $381,642 on ads and campaign consultants in the past two months.

Those funds include the Bloomberg pass-through contribution and another one from billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad for $250,000.

Morse's campaign manager Christy Le Lait, who also is executive director of the El Paso County Democratic Party, said more than 17,000 individuals have donated time and money to the Morse and Giron campaigns.

"We are in the national spotlight," Le Lait said in a media release. "It should come as no surprise that Mayor Bloomberg, one of the country's most active gun-safety advocates, as well as America Votes, Conservation Colorado, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, AFL-CIO and many others would donate to this campaign."

Pueblo United for Angela reported receiving $687,445 in cash and in-kind contributions, including money from Bloomberg and Broad. So far the group has spent $575,668.

Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the group first founded to oust Giron, reported a comparatively paltry $24,206 in contributions over the same time period.

Not reporting at the time of publication were two committee's established to unseat Morse.

But most of the advertisements being purchased to oust Morse and Giron are being for through non-profit companies like the IACE Action run by Laura Carno.

Because the group is registered as a 501(c)4 the group's donors will likely never become public record although federal tax filings are public record.

NEW COMMITTEES

The NRA was the only group supporting the recalls to reveal donations Tuesday before deadline, reporting $108,667.

That money was spent on mailers, billboards and radio advertisements through a front-committee the National Rifle Association Committee to Restore Coloradans' Rights.

The other committees trying to oust the senators will have to report before midnight Tuesday.

Contact Megan Schrader

719-286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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