Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Recall campaign money trickles in, some can't be traced

By Megan Schrader Published: August 28, 2013

A newly formed committee, run by founders of the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, reported almost $14,000 in donations, mostly from private individuals in Colorado.

The group that originally formed to oust Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, from his District 11 office is no longer in the secretary of state's system as a registered issue committee. The El Paso Freedom Defense Fund is no more.

In its place, Recall John Morse was formed and has spent $9,500 toward ousting the Senate president for his role in passing gun legislation during the 2013 legislative session.

That's a pittance compared with what other groups have raised and spent, including about $108,000 that the National Rifle Association has spent through its issue committee.

About a dozen committees and nonprofits are actively campaigning in the two recall elections scheduled to take place Sept. 10. Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, of District 3 also faces recall for her support of the gun measures.

Pueblo Freedom and Rights - the group first organized to force the recall - raised $24,206 and spent $26,702.

According to campaign finance reports, it appears the pro-recall groups are being heavily outspent by the efforts to keep Morse and Giron in office. But two nonprofits have been buying ads and spending money in the effort to oust the senators, and those organizations do not have to report contributions and expenditures.

We Can Do Better Colorado formed three types of political committees to receive and spend money trying to fight the recall efforts and keep Morse and Giron in office.

They were founded in part by Julie Wells, who frequently is listed as the registered agent for liberal campaign committees that pop up during elections. The committee has put out several fliers attacking Republican candidate Bernie Herpin, who is the Republican option to replace Morse.

The group's 527 political committee has taken in $395,000 and spent $248,821. And the issue committee has taken in $225,000 more from DLCC Unincorporated with an address in the nation's Capitol.

The top two donors to the 527 were Washington, D.C.-based national union groups each giving $100,000 to the effort: Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

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